“Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing before the gates.” At first glance, I thought this did not happen much. However, reflecting on it, I think it probably happens more than you and I think. The reason for the complaints does not have to be something big or spectacular. On the contrary, complaints are simple, discreet, small, and difficult to detect, but at the same time they are as bad and hurtful as a knife in the back.
How does the vicious circle of complaints begin? Very simple: This brother is not doing his work and I have to finish it for him; again they did not follow through what they had promised; I can teach better than many of the teachers; how boring this priest preaches; that brother is a liar; I didn’t like today’s Mass as much as the previous ones; that brother has no faith; that other is not a good example and he should not be there; this one here doesn’t know much and cares too much; this sister does not know how to treat her husband or her family; and so the complaints continue without an end.
It doesn’t matter if we are part of a ministry or just come to Mass, our comments always have a consequence. James advises us not to complain about each other. As he wrote in previous chapters, who are we to judge? There is only one Judge and there is no room for another, not even for assistants. However, as human beings, we always tend to find the bad more easily than the good. We are tempted to think that we can do things better than others. How beautiful it would be if instead of complaining, we began to love each other as Jesus asks us, to encourage each other, to comfort each other, to support each other. Obviously, this is not to say that I have discovered something new. But perhaps today is a good day to thank God for reminding us of the path that Jesus has proposed us to travel, and ask God to help us to be better, growing in kindness, compassion, and mercy as God is compassionate and merciful. Of course, it is not easy, but Jesus is with us. It is up to us to follow the path or to get off of it. I want to walk it, and you? Perhaps, we can walk it together.