In yet another quotable moment, Pope Francis recently said: “Who am I to judge” gay people? It is very heartening how he keeps on opening doors and opportunities for dialogue with people on the outside and those on the peripheries. He is the first Pope to have washed the feet of women during the Holy Thursday rites. Recently, he declared: “A church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother.” At one time, he declared that even atheists can go to heaven. He is constantly challenging us to go to the peripheries and serve the poor and the needy. He has steered clear of the center of attention and the traditional trappings of his office, choosing to live in simplicity and with frugality.
It is disheartening how some would immediately reinterpret what he has said to water it down or to remove the bite in his words. “This is what he actually meant . . . .” or “The context of what he said is this . . . ” or “Oh, but he has a conditional if in when he spoke and he was really saying . . . ”
The urge and tendency to judge others is strong in everyone, me included. We love to pass judgement. I love to categorize people and sort them into pigeon boxes. There is but one judge of us all – the Father. And ours is to learn and do the Father’s will. I pray for the grace of wisdom and knowledge to know God’s will for me, the grace strength and courage to do it and the grace of humility and gratitude to accept others as they are and not to be a judge to them.
‘The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.’