Sunday, September 4, 2011
Today's Gospel (Mt. 18:15-20) emphasizes the importance and necessity of fraternal correction. Jesus says, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector" (18:15-17). Jesus is making it very clear of our responsibility to call to task those who are living sinful and immoral lives. It is our responsibility when someone is in serious sin or error to correct them of this. We do this through an act of love. The whole purpose of fraternal correction is not to condemn someone for their actions, but to help them turn away from such actions.
This is precisely what Jesus did during His public ministry and why He visited and ate with tax collectors and sinners. He wasn't condoning their sinful acts. Rather, through His teachings and love, He was helping them to see the error of their ways in hopes they would change and conform their lives to His. We too must do the same. Friends, we have such an opportunity at hand for us. We are living in desperate and immoral times. This is not said to instill fear, panic, or depression, but to help us be hopeful--hopeful by being in the Light of Christ! We have great opportunities to stand up for our faith and to be good witnesses for others. We are privileged to be Christ's disciples and ought to be motivated to defend the faith that means so much to us. We have to correct others when they are in error and speak of and support things that violate the Divine Laws of God. We do this out of our love for Christ and neighbor.
What we cannot afford to do is despair if our fraternal correction is rejected. We cannot control the actions of others and are solely responsible for our own actions. The Truth sometimes hurts and causes division. Jesus tells us, "I have not come to bring peace but the sword" (Mt. 10:34). His "sword" is the sword of truth and the truth causes division time-to-time. We cannot allow the possible outcome of such encounters deter us from teaching the truth. This is why Jesus tells us to not go it alone. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt. 18:20). Together, united in Christ, the Lord will manifest His presence. Let us trust always in the Lord and be ever mindful that when two or three of us gather together in His name, He will be among us.
To view his video reflection for today's Gospel Click Here!
May God bless you always,