- Judge by yourself
- "Why even of yourselves
judge you not what is right?"
- (Luke 12, 57)
These words of Jesus were for the "crowd", that
is for any body. They are pronounced after a harsh discussion
with the Pharisees and the Scribes, intellectual leaders, who
were credited to be qualified to define what is right and what
With time, likely to laudably promote the Law of Moses, they
had multiplied duties and interdicts without questioning the
perverse effects of these rules. The essential elements of the
"ten commandments" were embedded into an ocean of painful
details and above all, the believers, abandoned to a blind obedience,
had lost all their common sense and the desire of distinguishing
what is important or secondary in life.
Jesus wants to wake up their conscience, his "why"
sounds like a shout of astonishment, in which one can see some
misunderstanding, irritation even some discouragement or reproach.
" But why don't you judge by yourselves? For him, it was
evident, he made it clear when he said" the Shabbat is made
for man and not man for the Shabbat" The essential is not
to calculate the number of steps that are allowed but "to
do good and save a life" (Luke 6,9) and to break the
chains of somebody who is sick or in despair.
To the people who were listening, Jesus essentially said two
It depends on each of us to determine what is right to
think and to do. It is not a sacrilege to question the rightness
of the rules that are imposed on us and the value of the given
arguments to convince us.
You have the power to do it in every sense of the word: on
the one hand you have the ability to judge, intellectually and
with enough skill to determine what is valuable or not. On the
other hand, you have a real authority to do it, as a human being
and as a member of the people of God, just like the masters who
govern you and want to teach you. At the end it is your conscience
that has authority to make you think and act.
The message of Jesus was going even further: it is not only
a power but also a requirement. An adult believer has to dare
to say: "At the light of what I humanly know and of what
the Gospel tell me today, I think that
and these are my
reasons". They may coincide with the reasons of the religious
authorities; they can also diverge from them without to be scandalous
All along this large road of the liberty, Jesus wanted to reassure
the crowd by saying: " judge by yourselves" it is not
an insurmountable difficulty; it is no more complicated than
to forecast the weather for tomorrow: "when you see a
cloud rise out of the west, straight away you say, rain will
be coming and so it is .And when you see the south wind blow,
you say there will be heat and it happens. You can discern the
face of the sky and of the earth but how is it you do not discern
the events of this time? Yes why cannot you judge by yourselves
what is right? (Luke 12, 54-57), what is right in your relationship
with God and with your neighbour, in your way to love One and
the other and in your way to welcome Jesus.
To judge by oneself does not mean to judge all the time without
ever looking for enlightenment by people who know. For instance
there are ethical questions on which it is not easy to find what
is valuable, a personal judgement will be strengthened if related
to the advices of knowledgeable or ordinary persons. But in the
end, each person has to take upon oneself his or her own choices.