23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020 – Year A

6 September 2020

Ezekiel 33:7-9
Romans 13:8-10
Matthew 18:15-20

Correction in a Christian way…

Many people today are involved in a process called Lectio Divina – trying to make the Word of God more alive by reflecting on a particular reading from the Bible and trying to see what application it might have for their individual lives. Some parishes have groups who do this for the readings at Sunday Mass. When people have reflected on the readings beforehand, they are more attentive to it when proclaimed in the bigger community gathering!

It is said that the word of God wants to speak to us every time it is proclaimed.  Yet how often we hear it said “I got nothing from Mass today!”  Perhaps we take away nothing because we have not prepared ourselves to hear God speaking.

There is a valuable message in what Jesus says in the Gospel today… “If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves.”

Jesus wants issues resolved in a way that both parties respect preserve the dignity of each other.

He goes on… “If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge.”

The voice of two or three may bring more weight and help the parties to realize that there is a better way forward.  But again there must be respect and concern.

Finally, Jesus tells us… “If he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.”

Harsh!!! Yes, but treating the brother [or a sister] as an outcast may help him see the error of his ways and bring about conversion, much like the Prodigal Son came to his senses and sought forgiveness when he realized the wrong he had chosen. What is often called ‘tough love’ with regard to people who have an addiction and their family have to let them go to the bottom before they can begin to get up and begin the road to recovery!

While alone with our brokenness, Gods’ light can shine and enable us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “Come back to me even in your brokenness, and I will make you whole.”

In treating with others we must see them as sisters and brothers, children of God like each of us, and, just like each of us, needing direction in our life’s journey.

 Fr John Gallagher SMA

Click on the play button below to listen to an alternative homily from Fr Tom Casey SMA