By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Judging someone is always easier than to being merciful and understanding, Pope Francis said.
The difficulty is why it is so important to keep reminding oneself, “Who am I to judge?” the pope said March 17 at his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he resides.
The day’s Gospel reading was from St. Luke: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.'”
According to Vatican Radio’s report on the homily, Pope Francis told those gathered in the chapel that to fight the natural inclination to judge others, one must recognize that “we are sinners,” be ashamed of one’s sins and ask the grace of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
In the face of repentance, he said, “the justice of God is transformed into mercy and forgiveness.”
Pope Francis told his small congregation, “It’s true that none of us has killed anyone, but we have done many little things, many daily sins every day,” and when one realizes that every sin is a sin against God, it’s a cause for shame.
“It is simple,” he said, “but very difficult to say, ‘I have sinned.'”
Yet once someone admits their sinfulness and asks God’s forgiveness, the pope said, they become more capable of showing mercy to others.
It takes exercise and discipline, he said, but as a Christian one must “enlarge your heart.”
“The Lord says, ‘stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and you will receive.’ This is generosity of heart,” the pope said. “If you have a big, large heart, you will receive more.”
“Who am I to judge?” is a question that should come naturally to anyone who recognizes that he or she has sinned and been forgiven by God’s mercy, he said.
“If all of us — all peoples, individuals, families, neighborhoods — had this attitude, think how much peace there would be in the world, how much peace there would be in our hearts,” Pope Francis said. “Mercy brings us peace. Always remember, ‘Who am I to judge?’ feel shame and enlarge your heart. May the Lord grant us this grace.”
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