Commentary on the Gospel of

Scott McClure - Creighton University's Former Assistant Director of the Magis Catholic Teacher Corps


When you gaze upon the crucifix, what do you see? 

In the office in the basement of my home, I have a crucifix that was given to me by my paternal grandmother. It is stark and aged, roughly ten inches tall. A simple cross, painted black with nicks on the corners and edges. On it, Jesus and an 'INRI' banner are affixed in a silver-toned metal. It has accompanied me wherever I have gone in the roughly 20 years since I received it. Recently, in prayer, I found myself looking at this crucifix in thanksgiving - and then in wonder. Thanksgiving, for a recent blessing received for our family and for me. Wonder, for the fact that, amidst all of my transgressions, Jesus still gives, even while hanging on the cross, and already giving all he has to give. He gives even despite my transgressions, my nailing him to the cross.

Today in Luke, Jesus admonishes a Pharisee for his judgment; for the appearance of purity on the outside while harboring evil within. Judgment, Jesus seems to communicate, is an unjustifiable practice for those who are, themselves, imperfect. (See John 8:7 for more on this point.) Recently, Pope Francis communicated consonance with this teaching. A September 27 America article reported recent words of Pope Francis: "Let us ask for the grace to overcome the temptation to judge and to categorize." In short, if Jesus can not only not judge while hanging on the cross but continue giving, who are we to judge? 

Judgment is all too easy, especially when we feel wronged, offended or threatened. These situations or even the mere perception of them, we think, can justify our judgment. If there ever was justified human judgment, I imagine Jesus may have exercised it while hanging on the cross. He did not. Rather, he prayed that God may forgive his transgressors. He continued and continues to give all to us. He continues to seek communion with us rather than division from us. 

Let us not judge. Let us imitate Christ crucified.


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