Judges and Judging

In the Gospels, Jesus admonishes us to “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Catholics are supposed to read that as a command to not pass summary judgment on a person, (i.e. not condemn them to hell) as that is only for God to do. We also understand, however, that this command does not call us to abdicate prudent judgement in discerning right from wrong. That is, we must exercise prudent judgement in the moral and spiritual life. So far so good.

What I’m wondering, though, is if anybody knows of any Biblical scholarship out there that says Jesus was drawing a parallel between the kind of ultimate judging mentioned above and certain juridical aspects of life in ancient Jerusalem. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the judges of ancient Israel would sit at the city gates and literally decide who was granted entrance to the city and who was not. Jesus, therefore, was invoking a parallel between Jerusalem and heaven. In essence, he was saying do not be like the Earthly judges who sit at the city gates, because only God can decide who is worthy of entering heaven. Again, I seem to remember reading that somewhere, but I can’t recall. Does anyone know about this?

Rulers, the princes and kings of the people, sat at the gates of the city, as did judges–scribes and pharisees. “The gates of Hell” refers to the stationing of a cadre of crack troops at city gates. These elite forces stayed in a fortified room to enforce the will of these authorities, and their most obvious duty would be to forcibly deny entrance. So the presence of these rooms in archaeology would be proof enough that judging entry was one function of these leaders.

Moses appointed judges to settle disputes and enforce his rules, and as in the law of Moses, the rejected would include those suffering from various spiritually and physically unclean states, whether men or animals. As Jesus notes in John 8, the scribes and pharisees judge by appearances. Christ here says He does not judge. This is consonant with the Sacred Heart revelation to Sister Gertrude as relentlessly refreshed by seers on through to the latest Divine Mercy revelation of Sister Faustina: Christ is the Lord of Mercy now and we are wise to avail ourselves of His fathomless mercy before He must return as the Lord of Judgment.

The elite of man versus the elect of God is the hidden subtext. One nominally Catholic group, TFP/Tradition, Family & Property, exalts the elite as most deserving of preferential treatment, directly contradicting John Paul II’s “preferential option for the poor.” Exclusion is one mode of the satanic caste system of elitism. God’s elect are unknown to man, so we are not to judge, even in self-exclusion. This sin of self-exclusion from God’s mercy, that there is sin too great for God to forgive, is itself and by its nature an unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit. Let us gather with the tax collectors, adulterers, the poor, imprisoned, sick and the despised, now begging God’s mercy that we may be cleansed by Jesus the Messiah and enter into His Kingdom and His rest.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.