Sunday, September 07, 2014


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.  If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.  Ezekiel 33:7-8

“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.”  Matthew 18:19-20
Piety reflects the truth of our relationship to Christ.  When two or three of us are united in the name of Christ, he is in the middle of us.  When one of the brothers sins, in the name of our union with Christ we have the responsibility to say something.  If we are not listened to by the sinner we are told to call one or two others to say what is wrong so that the matter might have the confirmation of two or three witnesses.  All of us together are the body of Christ and what the community decides is bound in heaven.  We are strengthened by the goodness of each other.  We are all hurt by the sinfulness of the other.  If one does not listen to the community, such a one should be considered a gentile or a publican.  The Father in heaven gives us what we ask for together in the name of Christ.
Fraternal correction is a form of the examen.  We study our behavior in the light of the gospel of Christ and we learn better ways of doing what is right from each other.  The unexamined life is not worth living.  The challenge of our spiritual journey is the question of what is the best to do.  The challenge of the Ignatian ‘magis’ (more) is in our struggle to do what gives greater glory to God. Study allows us to find the better way to serve God.
We all owe to one another love. Love of the neighbor completes the law.  The command of the law is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It completes all the other commandments.  Whatever we do, we should do out of love.  Love makes our world go round. How can we say we love the God we do not see if we do not love the neighbor we do see?  Wherever there is love God is there.  If we try to correct a bad person and he changes we are credited with his change.  If we do not try to change the one who sins we are guilty of his crime because he might have listened to us.  We must do our part to make a better world.

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