“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
It is in our human nature to judge people whether good or bad. St. Paul is teaching us not to be too quick to pass judgment because only God has the capacity to “bring to light the things now hidden in darkness…” St. Paul’s words are part of his response to the division in the Corinthian Church between those who were for Apollos and those for him.
To those who were on the side of Paul, Paul was indirectly saying: “who are you to declare me a saint?” and those who were against Paul, he was saying: “even though I am not aware of anything against myself (my conscience is clean), I am not thereby acquitted.”
Paul’s overall intention here was to break division, to make the people refrain from taking sides and realize that both Paul and Apollos are imperfect, yet powerful, instruments in the hands of God. I admire the fact that in all of this, Paul made no single negative statement about Apollos who had been made a rival to him by the people. This is a lesson we must learn.
Coming down to our Gospel passage, we see how Jesus and his disciples became victims of pre-mature judgment by the scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus came with fresh wine. He wanted to return people to the true worship of God in spirit and truth. Jesus was disgusted with public piety and wanted true inner piety; piety that required going into your room, shutting the door to pray that your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you in secret; piety that meant even while fasting, you don’t carry long faces but rub oil and shine.
In other words, even if Jesus and his disciples were actually fasting, they were not showing it. There is danger in passing judgment before the time; (before all the facts are exposed). Don’t accuse Jesus and his disciples of wrongdoing simply because you did not see them fasting.
Let us pray: O Jesus, give me the grace to grow deeper in the spirit. Amen.
Bible Study: 1st Corinthians 4:1-5, Psalm 37:3-40, and Luke 5:33-39).