Reflection for 23rd Sunday of the Year (A)…
In Tanzania we are celebrating the Year of the Basic Christian Community. We are trying to make the WORD of God come more alive for our people by getting them to reflect on the Sunday readings prior to gathering for mass on the Sunday morning. 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 dignty 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 realise that there is a better way forward. But again there must be respect and concern.
Finally he 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 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 realised the wrong he had chosen.
While alone with our brokenness, Gods light can shine and enable us to hear his voice say “Come back to me even in your brokenness, and I will make you whole.”
In treating with others we must see them as brothers and sisters, children of God like each of us, and, just like each of us, needing direction in our life’s journey.
– Fr John Gallagher SMA