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Back The Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, September 6, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
From the lessons of the last two weeks we learned about what proper God-fearing Christian leadership entails. To be a good leader one has to be humble and not overly proud. To be a good Christian leader one has to be a promoter of God’s will and not one’s own.
This weekend’s Biblical lessons turn attention to the life among believers. A most common human fault that is confessed again and again is that of gossiping. We find out a bit of information about what someone said or did and we pass it along to others, making it a point of conversation etc. Sometimes the information is not even true but gets passed along and continues to damage another’s reputation in the eyes of others. As Jesus often says in the scriptures, “it can’t be that way among you.”
Matthew’s recollections and formation of his Gospel account has Jesus using the word “church” two times. Most biblical scholars are reasonably certain that Jesus didn’t use the descriptive word Himself. The “church” came about after the death and resurrection with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was to that “assembly” of believers that the Holy Spirit gave His gifts of unity and peace enabling them as one body to continue the witness to Jesus around the world.
We are all aware that talking to others who have no power to change a given situation is fruitless. One has to address issues directly with the source of the matter. Matthew rightly portrays Jesus in giving that sound advice. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” (Matthew 18:15). In this way we go to the source; the one we are reasonably certain can solve the difficulty. If this doesn’t work Matthew portrays Jesus as echoing the Jewish advice of gathering two or three witnesses to help convince one of their guilt. The last initiative includes having someone confronted by the assembly of believers and if one doesn’t admit their guilt and change then to treat them like a Gentile or tax collector. In Jewish thought this would have been, to not allow them to participate in temple worship, unless they repent. However, in Jesus’ mission style, the tax collectors and sinners were the ones who Jesus paid the most attention to. This might indicate that the offenders become the focus of our prayer and spiritual attention. We unite with all the heavenly powers to assist them in their conversion.
In our Christian community life with one another, let us learn for this Gospel passage to love one another so much as to not give up on each other. Let us continue to dialogue, to pray, and support one another on our common walk to make ever present the values of God’s Kingdom here on earth.