Wednesday of the 19th Week of the Year

Matt 18:15-20

A Brother who Sins

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

I don’t remember very clearly how my parents settled our fights when we were young. There must have been some process of doing it because we learned to forgive each other in the end.

The reconciliation process Jesus suggests involves four stages: 1. Talk it over with the person who sinned against you, 2. Talk it over with him in the presence of witnesses, 3. Bring it to your church – community (pastor), 4. Don’t talk to him/her anymore. The last step seems to be the immediate solution that we often do. Understanding does not come by silence since there are no clarifications on both sides. When do we get the courage to confront without being vindictive or hurtful in return? Experience teaches us that many times when we talk to the person who hurt us, the hurt becomes less painful and we begin to understand the incident in a new fight. The Lord wants us to make this first step that we may see the light of wisdom in every encounter. (Fr. Bong Bongayan, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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In a community, whether it be a family, seminary or a parish community, it can happen that someone offends another in a serious way, for example by insult, physical injury, cheating, stealing and so forth.

How to handle such situation? Kill him/her? (The solution of a savage). An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? (The Old Testament solution).

Jesus tells to talk, dialogue, open up communication with the offender. Jesus gives three steps in the process:

  1. Talk with the person privately and tell him/her how you feel about what was done to you. Sincerely says sorry and makes amends, the problem is solve. If the person however, does not listen to you, 2. Take  two or three friends of both of you and again bring forward your grievance. If still the sinner does not listen, 3. Bring up the matter in a family meeting, in the seminary class or community meeting or before the parish council, depending on the situation. 4. If the sinner will still not listen, he/she can be ostracized and treated as a non-member.

The hope is that the person who sins seriously will repent and be converted in his/her isolation and finally rejoin the family or parish community. Together with the talking or dialogue, prayer is most necessarily. You yourself can and should pray for the one who sins against you. And then the community, no matter how small, even two or three members, should pray for him/her. For Jesus says that He will be in that group gathered in His name. and His prayers, of course, are the most powerful. (Fr. Stan Flutz, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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At Grace Lutheran Church in Atlanta, worshippers annually celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one with what they call a “burning service.” Each member of the congregation brings to the altar a paper on which he/she has written failures and mistakes, hatreds and ill will. Plus changes to be made during the New Year. The paper is dropped into a flaming urn. One year, two men who had once been friends, but had quarreled over a business deal stood side by side at the altar. After dropping their papers into the urn, they got up, faced each other and shook hands.

This can be a modern version of today’s gospel, a communal attempt at reconciliation. Any undertaking at reconciliation and forgiveness, however, starts from the heart. The flame that lights any “burning service” commences in the altar of the heart.

Jesus is reminding us to go and get reconciled with the one who hurt us as well as the one we offended. But most often, we want to condemn immediately the person without listening first to his/her side. We even want the whole community to know the wrong thing he/she has done. Is it because we want appear better? Why is it that most often we are happy putting the other to shame?

It matters, but only for a time, to know who was right and who was wrong. But the would pesters both parties, the damage collateral. Only reconciliation can heal both. May we be able to transcend our foul animosities into fragrant forgiveness. (Frt. Bong Suganob, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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When I joined a movement called Christ’s Youth in Action during my college years, I learned to be open and responsive to “fraternal correction.”  There were moments that we gathered together and expressed our concerns for our brothers and sisters. We let the person know the things that he/she needs to improve his/her character. We specified his/her mistakes with the intention of not dragging or putting him/her down but to help him/her to become a better person and leader.  needs to improve his/her character. We specified his/her mistakes with the intention of not dragging or putting him/her down but to help him/her to become a better person and leader. We were able to correct our own faults and failures by talking to each other face-to-face.

In our gospel, Jesus shows us the right attitude in correcting a person by telling him/her directly his/her faults with respect and love. Keep in mind that we correct a person because we care and we want to show how important that person is in our lives, being our brother or sister in Christ.

The secret of achieving holiness is to help reminding each other of our ways of life. Doing fraternal correction means that we are one family of God who helps one another to become holy. Fraternal correction therefore does not mean pulling each other down but rather pushing each other up to reach perfection. (Fr. Alan G. Bondoc, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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A story is told about the great composer musician Puccini who had been famous for La Boheme and Madame Butterfly. It was in 1922 when he was at the middle of writing his last composition, the “Turandoe,” that he had his battle with terminal cancer. When his sickness worsened, he tasked his disciples to finish his opera. In 1924 he died leaving his work unfinished, so his disciples gathered together and finished the “Turandoe.” In 1926 the world premiere was performed in La Scala Opera House in Milan where Toscanini, the most able student of Puccini conducted. The opera went smoothly, with perfect concentration and admiration from the audience when suddenly the the orchestra stopped; then, Toscanini spoke in the midst of a deafening silence, “Thus far the Master wrote.” No one moved; then he took his baton with teary eyes faced his audience and said, “But his disciples finished his work.” The opera closed with a thunderous applause.

When Jesus resurrected from the dead, sin and evil did not cease to thrive in this world. So the gospel for today shows Jesus preparing his disciples for the future scenario. Jesus is involving his disciples (and all of us) to have a share in bringing back to his fold those who have gone astray. Just like the story of Puccini’s disciples finishing his masterpiece, Jesus’ followers must continue the mission he started. Jesus is reminding us as a church (his living body) that repentance (through fraternal correction) and prayer are essential for the continuity and completion of his masterpiece – the work of salvation (Fr. Gil Manalo SVD Bible Diary 2014).

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Who is the greatest in this world? The world of politics, undoubtedly President Barack Obama is one of them. Ecclesiastically, Pope Francis is in the list. In the world of boxing, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are certainly included. On the other hand, today’s gospel, the disciples of Jesus asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The Lord presented the child to them as the image of the greatest person in the kingdom of heaven. He wants us to be childlike but not to be childish. To be childish means to think of ourselves and ourselves alone. To be childlike means to be a real CHILD, that is:

….Called. Children know that they are called by their name; and their parents have all the reasons why they are given and called by that name. thus, to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is to always heed the call of God to be His faithful disciple. God said: “I have called you by your name, you are mine,” (Is. 43:1).

….Inquisitive. They know that they are weak in intelligence. Thus, to be great in the kingdom of heaven is to be an eternal student of the greatest teacher who is Jesus. for He said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest,” (Mt. 11:29).

….Loving. They know that they are a gift of love from God to their parents. Thus to be great in the kingdom of heaven is to always follow the commandment of the Lord, which is to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. For “God is love,” (1John 4:8).

….Dependent. They know that they are physically weak, and that they need the help of other people. Thus, to be great in the Kingdom of heaven is to always accept the reality that we need the Lord who is always here with us. For He is indeed the Emmanuel, which means, “God is with us,” (Mt. 1:23). (Fr. Ferdinand Alfante SVD Bible Diary 2015).

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A BROTHER WHO SINS: if you have knife, you can actually cut today’s gospel text into two.

The first part of the gospel is about fraternal correction. The second part is about gathering together in prayer. Here the Lord also tells us that whatever we want will be given to us.

As I reflected in prayer over this Gospel text last night, I asked myself why the evangelist put fraternal correction before community prayer. I think the gospel message for us is very clear. The most important aspect of fraternal correction or the most effective way of fraternal correction is to pray for the person who needs to be corrected.

So many sins are committed in the name of fraternal correction. So many persons are hooked under the banner of constructive criticism. But how many of us really pray for the people we want to correct?

If you see something wrong or find fault in a person, the first thing we do is to get angry at the person. You try to control your anger, but if you cannot control your anger, you shout at the person who commits a mistake. If your able to control yourself and do not shout, what you will do, in all probability, will be to tell another person about it. And this is how gossip begins. Your action becomes gossip because you do not talk to the person who commits a mistake, perhaps out of fear of that person, so you talk about your experiences to somebody else.

But have you ever thought about this? If somebody commits an offense against you, then the first person you should talk to is not the person who commits the mistake, the first person to talk to is God.

If somebody has hurt you, talk to God about that person. Is somebody needs correction, talk to God about that brother or that sister. If somebody needs to be criticized, first talk to God about that criticism you want to say.

The most effective way of correcting people is by prayer. We must realize that it is not our good words that change the heart, it is not our beautiful words that make people change their ways, it is only the grace of God. Only God can change people, not us. Only the grace of God can convert hearts, not us. That is why prayer is the most important, vital instrument in fraternal correction.

We will pray today for the people we want to correct. We will pray today for the people we are tempted to criticize. And we will talk to God about them. And we will tell God, “Lord, I do not know how to say it but I just want to talk to you. I want to get angry in your presence. Lord, I want to correct. Please take care of that correction. I offer everything, I lift up my brother, my sister, my daughter, my son, my wife, my husband to you.” (Bp. Soc Villegas Only Jesus Always Jesus pp.173-174).

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VIRTUOUS ANGER (Mt 18:15-18): when somebody commits an offense against us, our first impulse is to punish the offender. Now there are two kinds of punishment. One type makes the person meting out the punishment feel better while the other kind makes the person being punished become better.

According to the gospel from Mark, our form of punishment should conform to the second kind. When we punish, it should not be such that we merely ventilate our anger or feel vindication.

Our goal when doling our punishments should be to make the offender correct himself. Thus psychologists usually advise us not to immediately punish when we are angry.

In the Scriptures we find an instance when Yahweh sees Israelites committing a mistake. Yahweh tells them: “Because of this, you Israelites will go into exile.” Here Yahweh is like a parent who sends his errant child to his room where he should stay until he has realize his mistake. This act is not done out of vengeance but out of love. In the case of the Israelites, Yahweh seeks their conversion.

As our gospel reading denotes, the point is not that we should not punish anybody at all cost, but that our punishment and rebukes should not be motivated merely by anger. They should not be occasion for ventilating anger. Our punishment should be motivated by love and concern for a brother or sister gone wrong. Our punishment should not be to make us feel better, but to make the offender a better person.

Thus we ask ourselves, “What kind of anger do I feel? Am I an impulsive person who flies into uncontrollable rage once I see something wrong?” it is always good to ask the Lord to make us patient. When we ask for patience let us implore the Lord to grant us the grace to correct, not simply to express our anger but so that other people will become better as a result of our anger. Only through this will our anger become life giving. Then our anger becomes God’s instrument for grace. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, p. 212)

 

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A Christian cannot be “brutally frank.” In these times when an aggressive media usually pursue issues for exposé, and to use the cliché “for the sake of truth,” there is the tendency to sacrifice privacy and good name. There is the tendency to glorify being “brutally frank” about issues as a virtue. However, the gospel admonition is clear and uncompromising: even in the worst of times when someone may have fallen to the nadir of moral and spiritual life, correction should first be done privately.  This avoids unnecessarily publicizing of private matters, and it also avoids giving unnecessary hurt to persons. Thus, the path to conversion and mending of ways could be easier (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, Makati: St. Pauls, 2006:246).

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More than fraternal correction, an issue on authentic concern: Deeper consideration of the teachings of Jesus makes us realize that Jesus is not simply preaching on correcting mistaken persons. Jesus is talking about true love and concern. True love and concern cannot afford to be silent and indifferent toward people in their weaknesses. Silence and refusal to be involved will not be safe option, but will actually be held accountable for this attitude as a “sin of omission.” This is an eye opener for us who live in a society where the culture of personal safety and individualism is becoming more and more a basis of action. Ez 33:7-9 reads: “If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death…”  (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, Makati: St. Pauls, 2006:246).

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The divine presence above all: A recurring expression in our gospel passage is the phrase: “two or three.” Jesus taught that if the brethren who did wrong could not be corrected by a one-on-one talk, the concerned brethren should get two or three witnesses to help him talk with the erring brethren, Jesus went on to say that when two or three agree on what to pray for, it shall be done for them. Finally, Jesus reveals that when two or three gather in His name, he will be there in their midst.

In all that we do, we must then be always conscious that we are “in the Presence of God.” (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP, New Every Morning New Everyday, Makati: St. Pauls, 2006:247).

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WORD Today (8/13/14; Ez 9:1-7, 10:18-22; Mt 18-15-20): Today’s culture says that morality is relative, that there’s no single standard of good and evil, that “it depends” on each individual and the situation. Wrong, says God. There will be a final judgment on how we followed His laws (1st reading). Christ gave His Church the authority to judge: “I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This is to continue His shepherding, to correct and give us a chance to repent before final judgment comes. Christ charges each of us too to bring back those who stray, not to condemn and be indifferent, for the sin of one infects Christ’s Body. Salvation is not only an individual struggle but a shared responsibility too (Fr. Iko Bajos).

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 19TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 18:15-20. Kinsa man ang angay’ng magbantay ug maglantaw sa kaayohan sa usag-usa? Diha sa ebanghelyo gipaklaro ni Kristo nga matag sakop sa iyang katilingban adunay kaakohan sa iyang mga kauban. Dili kita angay’ng mahisama kang Cain nga moingon, “Magbalantay ba diay ako sa akong igsoon?” Kon aduna kitay igsoon nga makasala o motipas ngadto sa daotang dalan, dili nato siya pasagdan. Imbis nga daoton ug libakon, ato hinoon siyang duolon, estoryahan ug tambagan. Kon siya nakasala ug nakapasakit kanato, ato siyang pangutan-on kon nganong iya kining gihimo ug pasabton sa sala nga iyang nahimo. Ang tuyo sa atong pagduol sa makasasala dili ang paghukom ug pagpanimalos kondili ang pagpasaylo ug pagpahiuli kaniya ngadto sa katilingban nga nagmugna sa Lawas ni Kristo. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/08/wednesday-of-19th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WEDNESDAY OF THE 19TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 18:15-20. KINSA MAN ANG ANGAY’NG MAGLANTAW SA KAAYOHAN SA USAG-USA? Gipaklaro ni Kristo nga matag sakop sa iyang katilingban adunay kaakohan sa iyang mga kauban. Dili kita angay’ng mahisama kang Cain nga moingon, “Magbalantay ba diay ako sa akong igsoon?” Kon aduna kitay igsoon nga motipas ngadto sa daotang dalan, dili nato siya pasagdan. Imbis nga libakon, ato siyang duolon ug tambagan. Kon siya nakapasakit kanato, ato siyang duolon ug pangutan-on kon nganong iya kining gihimo. Ang tuyo sa atong pagduol kaniya dili ang paghukom ug pagpanimalos kondili ang pagpasaylo ug pagpakighiuli. Si Thich Nhat Hanh nag-ingon: “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment, he needs help.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/08/wednesday-of-19th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Reflection for Wednesday August 13, Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 18:15-20 – Reflection: What is the importance of having a one on one talk with someone who offended us or someone who is at fault? We signify our sincerity to help the person who is at fault and we send a message that we want to sincerely contain and solve the problem without compromising his/her honor. By doing so we create a sincere message that we are here to build bridges and not walls.

Many of us commit the mistake of correcting a person in-front of a crowd but this will not help heal the person. This will only create a more deeper emotional injury to the person who is at fault. So, instead of bringing him/her closer to healing and reconciliation we further create a wedge that will permanently drive him/her away from the table of reconciliation.

This teaching of Jesus on how to privately correct a person is very useful for all of us. For the reason that there are times that we let ourselves be taken over by our arrogance rather than our kindness and gentleness. What is the use of power if it will only divide and create further emotional injury? What is the use of correcting a person in full view of the public if it will only create a deep seated feeling of hatred?

The way of Jesus in solving conflict is always the way of diplomacy and gentleness. Never through arrogance to propel ones power and influence. Let us reflect on this for we may have been using arrogance as a means of letting others know that they are at fault. – mjdasma

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/08/reflection-for-wednesday-august-13.html

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PRAYER WARRIORS: “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven…. For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.” – Matthew 18:18, 20

It was the night of the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the participants of the Life in the Spirit seminar in the parish church. There was a group of intercessors in the vicinity, praying together the whole time for the protection of the servants and the deliverance of the participants from bondage to sin.

We didn’t realize how powerful those prayers were until the five-year-old daughter of one of the servants told her mom after the seminar that there were so many monsters screaming and jumping out of the windows and the doors of the church while we were all praying!

Jesus doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t lie. If He said that He is there in the midst of people gathered in His Name, believe it. If only people could actually see what happens in the spiritual realm when people gather to pray, I think more people will get down on their knees and pray together for every little detail in their life. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)

Reflection: There is nothing the devil fears more than a group of Christians who pray with believing hearts.

Jesus, keep me from falling into the trap of being complacent in prayer.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-13

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1ST READING: These images of destruction are meant to convey the importance of following the Law of God. I do not believe that God is going to strike down and kill anyone who does not follow Him, but I do believe that choosing not to be obedient to God’s Word will put us in a position that’s outside the full protective cover of His mercy and love. Simply stated, if we do not follow God’s will, we place our eternal salvation in grave jeopardy. Ezekiel 9:1-7; 10:18-22

GOSPEL: Jesus outlines a process for discipline within the Christian community. It is not the only way to protect the truth. It is essential, though, to have the means to protect the purity of the Gospel. The process outlined here is very simple and it will only exclude those who refuse to submit to foundational truths of our faith. This is a highly reasonable process to have in our faith communities. Matthew 18:15-20

think:  It is essential to have the means to protect the purity of the Gospel.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-13

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THE PROCESS OF FORGIVENESS: Forgiveness is hard work and requires perseverance to be effective. There is a process outlined in today’s Gospel that provides a few rudimentary principles that we can apply. It is not a comprehensive description that will fit all occasions. Each of us will have to discern how to best forgive those who sin against us and ask forgiveness from those we have sinned against, according to the nature and circumstance of the act. This is not giving license to relativism. It is merely respecting the fact that no two situations are perfectly alike. Every person approaches things in a slightly different way and we need to respect that.

Having said that, the basics are fundamental: Forgiveness is a goal whose path may be long and winding or relatively short, depending on the situation and the people involved. It is crucial that we always remember that there are at least two sides to any story and we need to be careful in making assumptions. In fact, assumptions are best avoided altogether. Dialogue and mutual understanding are the keys to conflict resolution.

Jesus shows the way with the example of His life. For Him, there is no sin too big that cannot be forgiven. When you consider that even the smallest sin is of infinite insult to His goodness, this is saying something indeed. There are many horrific sins committed against innocent people but even these pale in comparison to how God experiences our sinfulness. Let us then, having received God’s mercy in our own lives, seek to give that same mercy to those who sin against us. Let us try to look beyond our own hurts and see the hurts and struggles of others, so that we may understand their actions better, no matter how hard it may be for us. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you find it hard to forgive? Ask God for the grace to do so.

Jesus, You are the only way to the Father and that way includes the ministry of forgiveness. Help me to forgive others in the same way You have forgiven my sins.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-13

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PICTURE TAKING! – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20

Filipinos are known for endless photo opportunities when it comes to taking pictures with celebrities, of their food and their travel adventures, including their selfies and, most of all, group pictures.

Once, after we had just finished our annual Kerygma Conference, I decided to call all the servants to have a group photo. These were the words that came out from my mouth: “Where two or three are gathered… there is picture taking!” Everyone laughed upon hearing it.

In today’s Gospel, we are reminded about how it is to be a community. This is what the Holy Eucharist is all about. It is when we come together to break bread and worship as one family that we experience our Lord Jesus Christ.

Indeed, when people are gathered, there is picture taking — and the photographer is no other than Christ Himself, who creates timeless memories with us when we come in prayer and devotion.

So smile! Jesus is taking your photo right now. JC Libiran (jclibiran@ymail.com)

Reflection: Are you spending quality time with God and His people through your parish or community? Why or why not? How do you spend time with fellow believers?

Lord Jesus, may I continue to smile for You and Your people. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-08-12

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THE CROSS OF FRATERNAL CORRECTION

When we discussed today’s Gospel in one of my classes, I asked the students, “What do you do when you see somebody doing something wrong?”

Their answers were quite honest: “I just keep quiet.” “I leave the place.” “I tell my friends about it.” “I put a general comment on Facebook.”

Most of us would answer similarly because we often hesitate to do what Jesus wants us to do. We are afraid of confrontation. We are afraid of being hated by the person we intend to rebuke. So instead of confronting the person or issue, we make generalizations on Facebook or give “blind” comments to friends. It becomes a game for others to try to figure out what the wrongdoing was or why we are upset. At times, the one who did something wrong is not even aware of it and might go on doing it. Sometimes, other people write a letter to the person who did wrong because they want to avoid a direct confrontation.

Jesus knew exactly that avoidance, silence, gossip or letter-writing will not do anything good. As we said, this does not change the situation at all. When we brood about it, it poisons our mind and life and we lose our inner peace.

In our novitiate, we had a monthly “fraternal correction.” It was not easy sitting together, with each novice voicing out what he thought a co-novice had done wrong. It was done after a prayer to the Holy Spirit and some remarks by the novice master. It was painful, but afterwards the atmosphere would become lighter and more joyful. It was as if the sun had appeared after a thunderstorm.

Prayer for guidance — and especially charity — helps to open up the matter and the heart of the other person. If done with love, in most cases a deeper relationship will develop. After all, Jesus knows what is good. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you have the courage and charity to make another person aware of his wrongdoing?

Lord, today’s message is a difficult one. Make me always aware that I am “my brother’s keeper” and that I can help a person to realize his wrongdoings.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-08-12

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Tough Moments

August 12, 2015 (readings)

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Matthew 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.”

Introductory Prayer: Father, thank you for this time of prayer. Help me to be attentive to the inspirations of your Holy Spirit. This day may be filled with many challenges and activities but throughout them all I invite you to be with me.

Petition: Lord, help me to me an instrument of your peace.

  1. If Your Brother Sins Against You:Catholic life is filled with many peaks and valleys. The Church’s soul is the Holy Spirit, but the body’s members can be less than saintly. At times, people can be scandalized by the “humanity” of the Church. “Isn’t he a Catholic? How can he do that?” Jesus, however, was not surprised, and we find him in the Gospel today outlining a procedure to deal with sinful behavior. Our love for the Church is realistic: Jesus came to save sinners; we can’t be surprised when we encounter sin. But realism isn’t cynical. We know that God is infinitely more powerful than our sinfulness. “Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).
  2. Fraternal Correction:Very often the sin that we encounter in the Church is right under our own roof. Fraternal correction can be a duty of charity; however, if we relish the thought, that’s a bad sign. We need to purify our intention of wounded pride or any thought of payback. Our motive must be to truly help the other person. Part of this is the desire to be effective, and this means doing things the right way. Going public is not the first step, as the Lord makes clear. By quietly seeking reconciliation we can do much to bring healing to our relationships.
  3. The Power of Prayer:Interpersonal conflicts can be among the heaviest crosses that we bear. When the hurts and the slights have accumulated beyond counting and forgiveness is either hard to give or hard to obtain, what is there left to do? The Lord tells us: Pray! Get others to pray with us and for us. “Where two or three are gathered in my name.…” The Lord wants to act in and through our prayer. As Catholics who believe in the gospels, we know that miracles happen. Sometimes it may seem that only a miracle will bring about reconciliation. Miracles will come only to those who ask for them.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you taught us to gather together in prayer. Grant your Church greater unity and charity. Help us to help each other. Give us the humility to be open to correction. I believe that your love will triumph!

Resolution: I will pray fervently before correcting anyone.

© 1980-Present. The Legion of Christ, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission of Copyright Owner.

http://www.epriest.com/reflections/view/479

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 19th Week of the Year

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