Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mt 18: 15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “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. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
BROTHERLY CORRECTION: Christian community is primarily a quality of the heart. Christian community is really known by the way members relate to one another. Moses managed to get the children of Israel from Egypt to the plains of Moab facing the Promised Land as one community. Amidst many interpersonal issues, they remained united as one until the land was divided. The ability of the church to resolve disputes amongst its people is key to realizing the promises of God. Jesus stipulates a process that the people of God should use to resolve their issues. “If your brother sins against you go and tell his fault, between you and him alone.” This is the presence of God that remains in our midst as we remain in agreement with our Father in heaven.
PRAYER: God give us the grace to live together bearing each other’s weaknesses.
GAIN THE CONFIDENCE OF YOUR BROTHER: The first part of the gospel speaks of the ways to win a brother. Many relationships can be mended by one-to-one dialogue than speaking about it and directly getting into attacks. Jesus recommends that the best way to solve a misunderstanding or disagreement is to sit with the same person and try to sort out the problem solution. He advises that it’s better to face the person of conflict in person which can give us opportunity to get back the lost relationship. When all the efforts prove useless, then the move should be to consider him as a gentile. The second part of the gospel speaks about the attitude of prayer. Jesus says that our prayer should be selfless. Often we expect the Lord to relieve us from sufferings, problems, and difficulties. But the Lord may not give us an escape from problems but he can reward us victory over our problems. Jesus also prayed to the Father to spare him from the suffering at Gethsemane. But God the Father has given him the courage to face the reality with courage and gave him victory.