When you’re at Mass, do you sometimes sneak a sidewise glance at someone near you, your mind wandering from the Liturgy to instead think about how this one is dressed, how that one looks, health-wise, and what’s going on with her hair? Oh, come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Hard as we try, we sometimes lose the battle to keep focused; we fight but lose the war against judging our neighbours. Most of the time it’s harmless mind rambling. It’s not gossip, we’re simply giving in to the chatter going on in our heads. With the smallest amount
of effort, we can pull ourselves back to the Liturgy and our involvement in it.
I often make assumptions – about events, situations and, most especially people – and in my assumptions, I judge. This has tripped me up more times than I care to recount, but I must, otherwise I will never be able to move on; I will never be able to grow in charity and love. Our mind wanderings and assumptions can become dangerous, I think, when we step across the boundary of harmless rambling thoughts to observing how those around us pray and worship - and we judge. We have our way of doing things, and if others aren’t in alignment with us – we judge. This is not good for us and it’s certainly not good for our neighbour. This can lead to an unhealthy us vs them mentality, setting us off in the wrong direction.
The apostles, constantly ran up against division from the people they were striving to serve. Even amongst themselves, at times, they fought over one issue or another. It happens. But there are large issues and then there are small issues. How you pray, as opposed to how I pray; how you practice your faith in comparison to how I live mine, in my mind, is a small issue.
Based on St. Paul’s teachings, Marty Haugen’s beautiful hymn tells us, ‘We are many parts, we are all one body.’ A tapestry of woven threads that, in its entirety, in the light of the Liturgy, the Sacraments, the Body and Blood of Christ – we are woven into one baptized people. So you see? There’s no reason to judge. We are all gathered together for the very same reason – our faith. Let us extol our love for God in our love for one another, and let us be joyful! Margery Frisch