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.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Belonging to a religious order is like belonging to a family. We Franciscans try to treat each other in the same fashion—as family. And that goes for tough times as well as good times. Once in a great while we have to confront a brother with a problem and seek to help him—or get help for him—in a loving way. Such “tough love” isn’t easy; it’s not easy in natural families either.
Today’s Gospel gives Christ’s step-by-step plan for dealing with someone in the community who sins. Much like a charitable intervention in a family, Jesus urges us to begin “one on one,” so as to minimize the embarrassment or good reputation of the person. Only when necessary are others to be included, and then with proper evidence.
A wider circle of Christians might have to become involved, and only as a last resort is someone ever excluded from the community—and even then Jesus’ advice is to treat such a one as a Gentile or tax collector. And we know that both of these receive Jesus’ healing or acceptance in various Gospel stories.
No religious order, no Catholic parish, no Catholic family is without its need to deal with failures to live up to the values of our faith. And in reaching out, none of these should be without Christ’s compassionate plan for healing.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In the first reading (Ezekiel 33:7-9), the Lord appointed Ezekiel watchman for the house of Israel. What does that mean for Ezekiel?
What must he do? What must he not do?
• According to this week’s second reading (Rom 13:8-10), what is the one duty we all have to each other?
Paul says that all other commandments are summed up in the saying: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Do you feel that is true? Is it easy to do?
• Jesus gives some steps, in the Gospel ( Mt 18:15-20), to deal with someone who sins against you. Can you name those steps?
What is first, second, third?
Jesus tells the disciples that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” Does your family pray together?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• This week’s second reading references the commandment to love our neighbor. In that spirit, do something nice for a neighbor. Make your neighbor a card, offer to help with some yard work, or make a baked treat and deliver it.
• Because of the COVID pandemic, gathering together as they talk about in the Gospel seems like a bad idea. Luckily there are other ways in which we can gather. Plan either an online get together or go to a park and visit while socially distancing.