Daily Reflection
January 17th, 2004
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
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If you’re going to divide the world into two opposing camps, “Righteous” vs. “Sinners” as the Pharisees do in today’s Gospel, most of us would probably fall into the “Righteous” camp.  We’re pretty good people who try to do the right thing most of the time. 

Whoops! Where does that leave us with Jesus? Would he reject those of us who try to follow him most of the time? 

As I reflected on that thought, I realized I was missing the central lesson of today’s Gospel. Unlike the Pharisees (and probably many of us, if the truth be told) Jesus doesn’t divide the world into separate camps of Righteous and Sinners.  He sees only ONE  camp– the human camp – and calls all of us to salvation. He sees the sinfulness of even the saints and the good in those the Pharisees label sinners.
It’s a lesson in how to judge people, including ourselves. 

We don’t have to deny our own goodness. That would be phony and hypocritical in most cases. But so is denying our sinfulness. We’ve all done things of which we are ashamed as well as proud. We can look around our camp, the human camp, with a little more tolerance and understanding – a little less haste to judge others harshly – as Jesus does.

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