Scripture Reflections

Friday, October 15, 2010


October 15, 2010
Friday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 12:1-7

Critic with a Heart:

Criticism is an art, virtue and business. In literature criticism is an art. In religion it is a virtue. In media it is a business. We cannot live without criticism. In journalistic approach fairness and objectivity arise only in a critical view of reality. In a culture of liberty and integrity critics abound. However, criticism can do more harm than good if it is not done in proper manner and disposition. Liberty and freedom of expression does not mean that one has the absolute right of criticizing another to the point of destroying him/her. Indeed, not everyone has the right to criticize. As Abraham Lincoln has once said, “he has the right to criticize who has a heart to help”. Criticism therefore should be practiced only with a view to help and not to destroy.

Jesus was a critic. He was a critic with a heart. He criticized not individuals rather the rotting system of the Pharisees and the scribes which ran on the fuel of hypocrisy. Jesus challenged them to self-critic. The chief purpose of God becoming man was to invite us to be critics not of others but of ourselves. In His preaching, healing, performing miracles, companionship with the sinners and outcasts, sufferings, death and resurrection Jesus called for conversion. Conversion begins with an examination of conscience, a criticism of the heart. Jesus model is a critic with a heart. The intention of the critic be pure, without blemish and holy. It is totally opposite of the kind of journalistic criticism as proposed by Kushwant Sing in his adage, “with malice towards all”. Jesus’ model rather is one born in love, as a mother who would critic her baby, a lover who would critic his/her partner. In this form of criticism, the critic owns responsibility for the situation and places him/herself in the position of the criticized, and then proposes the ways to change. Correction is a noble ministry, a divine responsibility God has put in the hearts every lover. It is not a weapon placed in the hands of an enemy. Indeed, I have no right to criticize my enemies. I can only criticize my friends. If I do not criticize my friends, then I am not a true friend.

Fear the Right Thing:

Fear is a common experience I have learned to live with. What are my fears? Do I fear the right things? I may fear cockroaches, rats, insects, lizards, snakes, ghosts, and other elements in nature. I might have phobias that frozen my thoughts, feelings and numb my movements. It is funny, however, that I fear such insignificant things as the insects and un harmful things as spirits or imagined things as ghosts, yet I do not fear the real things I should. In Jesus’ words, there is only one thing I need to fear: God! If I have fear of God then I fear nothing else. If I am not God-fearing then I fear everything else. Fear of God, however is not the fear I have of things, elements, situations, and people. It is a reverential fear. It is the “owe and wonder” I experience when I realize the might, power and glory of God. As I stand before the “tremendous, fascinating mystery” that is God, I realize how little I am, yet how exalted I am because of His grace! This realization at once elevates me to the height of His grace and to the depths of my creatureliness. I fall on my knees before Him in adoration and praise!

Thought Capsule
God has been very good to me, for I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always see some other virtue in that person. (Saint Teresa of Avila)


  1. Fr Thayil,

    That's a nice piece about criticism. So many of us are very quick to point the finger of blame at someone else without realising our own imperfections. There are people in the media who make a career of criticising, often in a negative way.

    The way Jesus criticised was like a true father, and that's how I think we should be. We should criticise with the aim of getting the other person on the right track, rather than try to condemn him forever. To the sinful woman brought before Jesus, He recognised her fault, forgave her but also said do not sin again. Meaningful criticism is helpful, but meaningless criticism is hollow.

    I'm now following your blog.

    Best wishes,

  2. This is truly insightful and helpful. We often as humans can find anything to criticize about and walk away from that person. Offering no help of any kind. And we need to be loving and helpful.