Saturday, September 03, 2011

Appointed Watchman

September 4, 2011

Twenty-Third Sunday Of Ordinary Time A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

You, son of man—I have appointed you as a sentinel for the house of Israel; when you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them for me. When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. Ezekiel 33:7-8

Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, we are the people he shepherds, the sheep in his hands. Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert. Psalm 95:6-8

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. Matthew 18:18-20


Piety allows us to say hard things to those we love when they are off base and need to be reminded of what they need to do. We call that hard love. It is easier to walk away rather than be involved in the problems of others. Love call us to get our hands dirty when there is a task that touches the love in our heart where Christ speaks. It is too easy to wash our hands of friendships that demand a correcting word if we are to truly listen to our hearts. The truth and the love of Christ speak in our charity toward one another. Being involved in the problems of others is the demand charity puts on our hearts if our piety is alive with Christ working on our hearts. If today we hear the voice of Christ calling us to speak the word of Christ, we must not harden our hearts. What we would do for friends, he asks us to do for those who do not like us.


We study how we owe love to one another. It is never easy to call another to account for their sin against us. Altruistic love is when we tell another how they are hurting us. There is reluctance to hear another telling us to change for our own good. If we are loved by another, they will listen to us if we are sharing our pain with the one who is hurting us. What another might not do for one’s own sake is easily done for the one loved. The problem of correcting another who does not love us when they are hurting us by their sin is all too real. We never like making enemies madder at us than they already are. It takes the study of prayer to find the words that God would use to touch the heart of the one sinning against us. An intervention is when we bring others who might be listened to help one who is trapped by an addiction. That is possible when one is part of a community. Community is the bond of involvement in the lives of others where intervention is not seen as meddling. Choosing the right people for an intervention is the work of study. We utilize interventions when one would not listen to us speaking alone.


The Lord speaks through the words of the Prophet Ezekiel about appointing watchmen for the house of Israel. Ezekiel speaks of what will happen if we do not speak out against what is wrong in our community. We become responsible for the guilt of others if we have not done our part to remedy the problems of community. We hear too much about people changing communities rather than working for the changes that are needed. There is no merit in running away from problems. The voice of the Lord is the voice of involvement. Sins of admission are what we most have to fear in the world today if we are not speaking up for the least one of our brothers and sisters. Love does no evil to the neighbor. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Justice and Mercy kiss by love of the Lord. What we bind on earth in our good will to one another, God binds in heaven in our name. How we bring our work of reconciliation to prayer allows God to grant our requests when we gather in the name of Jesus to make a better world.