23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) Mt. 18: 15-20 - Sep 104, 2017

“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. “

Medical personnel and those of the Health Department are charged with giving advance warning to people about contagious diseases or unhealthy conditions or habits. Personnel of the Health Services are not excused from their duty on the presumption that people will not listen to the warnings anyway, or that the warnings may upset them.

The readings from this Sunday make us aware that we have responsibilities for one another. Spiritual diseases arise in the lives of people we live with or love. We can help to prevent and avoid problems when we are early enough in our warning.

As God appointed the prophet Ezekiel watchman for the people in the Old Testament, we accept that as brothers and sisters we should have the courage and love to warn each other of danger.

Teenagers often get angry with parents and teachers who warn them about alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and sex. Those who are responsible for them should be models and good advisers. But this does not only happen to the young, also to the adults. We do well to be prudent and nice when we know, for example, when a marriage is going to break up, or when relatives or friends have problems with alcohol, or stop going to church, or get into different troubles.

In the first reading Ezekiel speaks about the responsibility that we have to each other. It is wrong for someone to ignore another person who is misbehaving. The Gospel speaks about the case of someone who has offended you. Jesus teaches us a whole wise process of conciliation: talk in private to the person about the problem. If this does not work, call two or three others to have a discussion about it. If this still does not work, then bring the matter before the community and discuss it. If the community agrees with you and the person still continues to offend you, then he or she is no longer part of the community.

In this part of his Gospel today and next Sunday, Saint Matthew considers the importance of forgiveness in the community and how to deal with sinners. Today the Gospel teaches us how to deal with a brother who has sinned, and next week Peter asks how many times he should forgive his brother. The emphasis in this part of the Gospel is on forgiveness and the presumption is that the main task of the community is to reconcile sinners, accepting that we are brothers and sisters in the same community, no strangers to each other.

Without trying to be nosy, but with respect, we must show concern for our fellows and warn each other about spiritual and moral dangers in our lives. At Mass we pray for members of our community needing our support.

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