Monday, June 25, 2012

Hypocrisy on the 12th Monday in Ordinary Time

Time has been moving way too fast.  This past weekend I'd planned to spend most of the time reading neuropsychiatry and getting some needed continuing medical education credits.  However, yesterday was one of those unpredictable days that began with finding that we could not make outgoing phone calls from the house.  Within house calls were fine but nothing went out.  The problem was due to a lightning strike Saturday evening behind the BC Observatory that adjoins our property.  It seems that some of our phone equipment is routed through computers down there.  It makes not sense but thats how it is.  I spent several hours with the guy from the phone company, the director of the observatory, fire, police, alarm company . . . at one point the parking lot looked like a working day.  we are almost back to being able to make calls.  Perhaps in the next few hours.  

I've added only one photo after the homily today.  

12th Monday in Ordinary Time
25 June 2012
2 Kgs 17:5-8, 13-15a, 16
Ps 60
Mt 7:1-5

Hypocrite, as a singular noun, appears twice in Matthew and once in Luke.  The plural, hypocrites, appears twenty-two times in Matthew, once in Mark and twice in Luke.  Obvious the noun resonates with Matthew.  The association of hypocrite and judgment drives this particular pericope.

Xavier Leon-Dufour notes, "By trying to deceive others, the hypocrite deceives himself and becomes blind, unable to see the light."  Religious hypocrisy is a lie that deceives others in order to win esteem for oneself.  But most garden-variety hypocrisy is also a lie that results in judging others unjustly, or unfairly or without a shred of compassion. 

We judge others constantly.  We must judge others on a daily basis.  In the classroom: is he working up to his full potential?  Did she really write this or is it plagiarized?  Physicians make judgments hourly: is this patient psychotic?  Is this patient really taking his blood pressure medication?  Is this back pain truly incapacitating or is the patient trying to get lifetime disability payments? 

We all judge others when walking down the street.  We have all crossed the street to avoid walking past a certain group, to avoid a panhandler, or to get away from what looks like a threatening and rowdy mob.  We can't NOT judge others.  We can't NOT judge their motives, their actions, or their way of proceeding, if we want to survive on a day-to-day basis, if we want to remain safe. The key point in the reading is the command "remove the wooden beam from your eye first, then . . . " 

Jesuit Father George Murray of this community had a carved wooden sign on the door of the office his consultation psychiatry fellows' used at Massachusetts General.  It read, in Greek, Gnothi Se Auton:  Know thyself.  Only when we know ourselves, our strengths and our weaknesses, only when we are conscious that we are sinners, only then can we avoid the malignant aspect of judging others so as to increase our value in our own eyes.  This is a difficult balancing act.  Yet we must learn it if we are not to fall under the term hypocrite.
I took this about ten days ago.  The rose was laden with water after two days of rain.  It was night with a time exposure using a double flash.  This is as surrealistic as anything I've managed with a camera.  No computer adjustment here.  This is how it came out of the camera.  It was a pleasant surprise.

+ Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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