Jesus repeats it continuously. In different ways and on different occasions, the beating heart of His inspiration to man is one and one alone. It is beautifully explained in chapter 4 of the Gospel of John in the encounter with the Samaritan woman when Jesus says that with the advent of His person it is time to live a new spirituality, generated in the loving, spiritual worship of God and in the truth of actions. It is underlined in Luke 10:28 when Jesus insists upon love for God and for our fellowmen as the heart of His proposal. Now, in this page of the Gospel, Jesus repeats it, although in a less joyful situation, as He forecefully reproves the hypocrisy and falsehood of some Pharisees and scholars of the law and tells them: You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them. Jesus says that in order to stop living in a foolish, dangerous, deadly, destructive way, and to begin living peacefully and serenely in true well-being for all, it is absolutely necessary to live and practice krìsis and agàpe, judgment and love.
Krìsis, "judgment", a de-verbative form of krìno, "I distinguish, I choose, I think, I believe, I consider, I esteem, I establish, I decide." It is etymologically linked to the Latin cèrno, "I separate, I distinguish," the action expressed by the root of this verb is "I separate from the straw, I distribute, I sieve, I sift," or rather, "I make separate piles of grain and straw," from the ancient Babylonian term qaranu, "to collect grain and straw" and from Accadic karamu, "to separate." Krìsis indicates the choice, the choice to be righteous, to live and to practice justice.
Here the term krìsis does not refer to the intellectual and spiritual act of judging, judging our brothers, subjecting them to the tribunal of our inquisitorial sight, but the higher act of practicing true justice, true justice which implies true happiness in the serene and peaceful sharing of all resources for all mankind. As long as human beings continue to die every second of every day of hunger and thirst, any proclamation justice, democracy, law and solidarity, any law court and judgment is a collective, hypocritical, violent farce.
Together with the term krìsis, judgment in the sense of justice, Jesus indicates another practice which is equally necessary for a happy living: agàpe, love for God, that the Hebrew text amazingly reveals in: love the Lord with all your mind-heart-inner part, with all your incorporated soul, and with the best of yourself.
Jesus placed justice and love of God as the true beating heart in the breast of humanity, as the double movement of the spiritual and social breath that allows humanity to live happily. If that heart does not beat justice-krìsis and love-agàpe for God, if this breathing stops, mankind will have a "crisis." Crisis is the moment when a sudden change occurs which separates one way of being from another. One is in crisis when a system collapses under the weight of its ineffectiveness and he/she is still not ready to replace it with another. It is the moment of suspension between one life-style and another, between habits and conventions that are collapsing under their foundation and an evolutionary leap that we are still unable to accomplish peacefully and safely.
When a system is going through a crisis nothing can be done but immediately finding and implementing a better one: this enables evolution and true progress, otherwise it is a problem, a serious problem. In this sense, Jesus' Woe to you is not a fierce threat, but a loving, as well as firm, foretelling. Jesus foresees to the Pharisees and scholars of the law, hard-hearted and stubborn people, that their religious, moral, educational, social, economic system is one that, after having suffocated peoples for thousands of years, causing suffering and death, ignorance and fear, is now crumbling on itself. It is a system - without justice or love for God - that is collapsing, which is already going through a serious crisis and if a remedy is not found, its troubles will be much more serious and devastating.
Of all the misleading follies in which the mind can drown its last glimmers of intelligence, the idea, the belief that it is possible to get through a crisis without completely changing the system that caused the crisis itself, is by far the most colossal and gigantic of all because it extends the agony of the system, prolonging evil, sadness, insecurity, fear, devastation, death.
Those who, with all their energies, work on trying to get through the crisis and do not exploit all of their resources to completely change the ruined and untrustworthy system that has led to the crisis itself, are similar to those who, after having failed, are still trying to cut a hundred-year old, thirty meters high beech three using a vegetable peeler. If, after having failed, they are still using the same system, they are either stupid or in bad faith. If they are stupid, nothing can be done. If they are acting in bad faith and they belong to the benefits group,the crisis is a source of immense wealth and opportunity for them, and nothing can be done. In any case, it is perfectly silly to continue to entrust our lives and the prospects of humanity to such foolish people.