Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Higher Standard

Sometimes we buy into the language of our culture without questioning whether or not it fits with our faith. One example is when we hear it said over and over, usually about the ones who have erred, that leaders are "held to a higher standard." It sounds good but it isn't Christian. It isn't even Judeo-Christian.

God in the Old Testament is referred to as the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. And yet today's first reading is the story of how Jacob stole the birthright from his older brother Esau, and yet God blessed him and he became Israel. We've already read of the sin and intrigue in the other lives. Time and again in the Old Testament it is precisely the sinner whom God is able to us to some good end.

As for the Christian perspective the fifth cheaper of The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church reminds us that we are all called to holiness. So if we are all called to be saints what would the "higher standard" be? The truth is that when that phase is used it is usually used by a hypocrite who wants to hold someone else to a higher standard than them-self.

The paradox is that we are all called to be saints, and we are all sinners. There is one standard for all. We are all dependent of the mercy and grace of God. The mercy of God to forgive our sin and the grace of God to make us holy.

If today we truly strive to answer to universal call to holiness then we will not have time to measure others. That is why Jesus tells us:
Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Mt 7:5)
Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone (Jn 8:7)
or perhaps most to the point
Stop judging, that you may not be judged (Mt. 7:1)