In the time of the Prophet Ezekiel the Israelites were not pleased with God’s way of judgment. They claimed that God’s way of dealing with people was “not fair”. Israelites presumed that God judges the way we judge. But the more they observed the world they realized that God’s judgment is different from ours, so much so that it even seemed unfair in their eyes.
The Israelites looked at judgment in terms of a scorecard. Those who would score the most points should get the best price, and those who scored the least should come in last. They were preoccupied with counting the good that someone did, as well as the bad. If the good outweighed the bad then you would be in good shape. This is a very human way of judging, and it makes sense to us. But this is not the way God judges.
Jesus tells a story about two sons who were asked to work in their father’s vineyard. One said no, but then felt bad and did what the father asked. The other said yes, but then changed his mind and did not go. This is a classic example of a good son who does something bad, and a bad son who does something good. The meaning of this story is that we will not be judged by God based on our past, nor our future, but our present. This is why we can never take the approach of points or credits when it comes to eternal life: I’ve done many good things in the past, I can afford to have some fun now; or I have done so much evil in the past, there is no point in trying now. The reason we think this way is because we think that God judges the way we do. But God judges differently. He is concerned with our present, where are we right now. Forget the past, don’t worry about the future, and simply live your faith in the present. This is our best path to encounter the God who will judge us based on the present. I may not like what I’ve done in the past, I may not be able to make promises for the future, but I can renew my faith and trust in God here and now. I can live in the present.
Fr. Wojtek Kuzma