In the last few days, I spoke, on different occasions, with two men who had recently come out of prison.
One was now living in a remote community and had a child. During our conversation, he told me that he did not want to stay in town since he did not want to go back to where there was trouble.
He wanted to look after his children and stay close to nature. We spoke about faith and it was obviously important to him.
The other young man was working in town. He smiled when I greeted him. He spoke of his grandmother who is one of our parishioners. He asked for transport to get to Mass. Something very genuine was stirring inside him.
As he left, I gave him a blessing which he received with great sincerity.
I could see the goodness in both these young men. There was this beautiful person ready to blossom. I felt privileged to spend time with them.
How easy it is for people to be judged and labelled into categories. How often we judge others unfairly!
So often Jesus went to those that others had rejected as immoral, unclean, bad people.
Self-righteous people rebuked Jesus for this behaviour. His response was that He came for those that needed healing.
He also told us not to be corrupt judges.
‘Do not judge and you will not be judged.’
As I walked the street today, I met many people who I did not know.
I caught myself putting them into categories. I reminded myself not to do that and to try to nod to people in a friendly manner as I walked.
There is so much goodness in each one.
There is so much that we can do to help nurture this goodness in each other.