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Friday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

Being positive takes effort. Maybe that’s why there are so many critics in the world. It’s easier to sit back and be critical of others for what they do and how they do it than get up and do some-thing ourselves. Many can be found criticizing even God for the way he runs the world. There! I’m doing it myself. I’m standing up here criticizing the criticizers. Some people get paid for it.

There are those who write movie reviews, editorials, and letters to the editors, complaining about how everybody else is running the country, ruining the town, upsetting their lives. Newspaper cartoons are more often than not humorous forms of criticism. How about the opening dialogues of Letterman and Leno?

Comedians can make a good living making jokes out of what they judge to be odd characteristics and stupidities of others. But doesn’t even Jesus criticize? That’s what we find him doing today.

“Why look at the speck in your brother’s eye when you miss the plank in your own? Hypocrite, remove the speck from your own first, then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus is the master critic, but then he has the right to be, doesn’t he? He’s perfect! They say “Charity begins at home.” How about criticism? Let us do something not only for ourselves, but about ourselves.

Today I invite you to practice not criticizing others. Throughout the day, be alert and aware. If you realize that you are criticizing another person, consciously release your criticism. At the end of the day review your progress in letting go of judgment or criticism. Be patient with yourself. We have been criticizing others most likely since we came forth from the womb. It takes practice and more practice to refrain from criticism and judgment. However, as you progress in this effort, notice: Are you more content? Was your day more peaceful? And who knows, perhaps the other person also may have been more peaceful and content!

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