We come together this afternoon in formal celebration of 101 persons in our academic community who have published. Ms. Bing Chan, chairperson of the University Research Council, has shown us the extent of these publications, some of which have been textbooks, books, articles published in refereed journals, or even in Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) journals, which indexes and analyzes citations. We come in celebration ultimately of our Vision and Mission – which identifies us first as a University, that is, as a community of scholars and academicians pursuing truth in academic freedom, no longer just on the level of envisioning, now on the level of implementation. Therefore, our simple celebration – in appreciation of our efforts at finding and sharing truth through publication, in finding hope in what has been achieved, in committing ourselves anew to an ongoing pursuit of truth within a community of disciplines scholars.
In today’s liturgy, in the Gospel text taken from the seventh chapter of St. Matthew, we heard the words of Jesus: “Judge not so that you will not be judged; for by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”
Judge not. We are being warned in this passage not to usurp the unique ability of God to read the human heart, and to pronounce the person justified or not. For it is only God that can read and judge the human heart. (Cf. 1 Sam 16:17; Jer 17:10). No man can arrogate to himself the power to say, “You are so evil, you cannot be saved.” No woman can say – without stealing Promethian fire – “You have sinned so grievously, you have no hope.”
Judge not as only God can. “God does not view things the way humans do” (1 Sam 16:17). We can only judge the way humans do. From this, we are not spared by the Gospel passage. We must judge – as human beings do. As human beings we cannot escape judging. For its is through judging that we attain truth.
Epistemology 101: “Knowing is the unity of the knower and known achieved in the judgment as demanded by the human condition.” Since we do not know as God knows, but only as humans, all our knowing is necessarily partial, tentative and inadequate.
That is why in making judgments, we must be conscious of the warrants for our judgments, and judge on the basis of facts, evidence, appropriate methodology, an appreciation of motivations and levels of freedom.
In celebrating our publications, we celebrate not only output, scientific output, research output worthy of a university. We celebrate the rigor with which we seek truth within our community, the autonomously enforced disciplines which govern our statements, the evidence on which we insist, even the form with which our output is shared, lest the truth we proclaim be less the truth, merely the product of our fancy, the gratis content of our moral appeals, the false-consolation of our well wishing.
Judge, not as God judges in an instant, truthfully, unimpeachably. Judge in the manner only humans can – based on hard facts, painstakingly acquired, but based also on understanding in depth. Judge with the sharpness of the sword, cutting to the truly essential. But judge with the compassion of the human heart, for that is truly essential. Judge with humility – knowing all of our knowing is partial, tentative and inadequate. But judge with courage, because in our disciplines we seek nevertheless to find truth for our people, for our communities and loved one, and capture it in right judgments.
Congratulations to all our published honorees! It is in right judgments, shared in these publications, that we achieve our gaudium de veritate, our joy in the truth – and dare to share it with others.