47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Jesus brings light into our world and into our life. He opens our eyes to see what is true, good and beautiful. He also wants to open our eyes to see the needs of others. Jesus reminds us all the time of the need for justice in our world, and for us to help the poor and the vulnerable. This is not something that Jesus says once or twice, but is an ongoing theme of the Gospels. Jesus was only repeating one of the major themes of the Old Testament as well. He also is telling us that he is not going to judge those who do not believe.
The job of judgment belongs to the Father and that is what Jesus is telling his disciples and us, that we will be judged by how well we have listened and how well we have followed his teachings. We have been saved and we cannot earn or merit salvation. However, we do need to accept this gift and we do that by opening the gift and using Jesus’ words as a yardstick by which we measure our deeds.
How just are we? How compassionate and forgiving? How well do we witness our faith? Are we like those few leaders in Jesus’ time who were afraid to publicly acknowledge him for fear of being excluded from the synagogue? Yes, it can be uncomfortable to be going against the tide of public opinion. Yet, this is what we must do.
Although we are called to share our beliefs with others, we are not responsible if they choose to ignore us since they will be judged by God at the last judgment, as Jesus has told us.
Loving God, you give us opportunities throughout our lifetime to come to know your Son and his message of salvation. You have given us his teachings so that we will know how to live as you want us to live; and opportunities for forgiveness when we fail. May we remain faithful to you and be judged among those worthy to enter your kingdom. Amen.