Theme: BROTHERLY CORRECTION
- Ezekiel 33:7-9;
- Psalm 94:1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 8;
- Romans 13:8-10
- Matthew 18:15-20
1. Today is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about brotherly correction! The gospel today tells us that if a brother does wrong you are to correct him and if he listens to you then you will have saved him! But if he does not listen to you then you are to take with you one or two others to correct him, but if he still does not listen to you then you are to report him to the Community or the Church, but if he does not listen to the Community or the Church then he can be excommunicated!
But more importantly, the gospel today tells us to pray for him. The gospel today tells us that when two or three are gathered in Jesus Christ’s name then he will be in their midst! God the Father will listen to their prayers because Jesus Christ is in their midst!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about brotherly correction. The first reading tells us that when a wicked man commits sins and dies and you did not correct him then you will be held responsible for his sin and death, but if you have corrected him, but he still sins and dies then you will not be held responsible for his sin and death. You will have saved your life! Thus we read in the first reading:
“If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to
warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.” (Ezk 33:8-9; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a call to repentance. That is, to turn away from sin and death and to turn to God who is love and life! Thus the response:
“O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.” (Ps 94:8; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that God saves us!
The second stanza tells us that God created us and saves us! (NJBC) The third stanza tells us to repent, that is, to turn away from sin and death and to turn to God who is love and life! Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:
“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94:7b-9; SM)
The word “Meribah” means to “quarrel” with God and the word “Massah” means to “test” God! The Israelites quarreled with God and tested God, that is, they did not believe in God though they saw his work in creation and salvation!
4. The second reading tells us about love! The second reading tells us that we owe love to one another! The second reading also tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law! Love is the only law! Love is above the law! The only law is love! Love and do what you will!
Love is the greatest commandment of the law! The second reading also tells us that love will not hurt our neighbor!
That is why it is most important that we do brotherly correction with love, mercy, and forgiveness and we will save our brother! But if we do brotherly correction out of hate, revenge, jealousy, etc., we will not save our brother nor will we save ourselves! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow
men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single commandment: You must love your neighbor as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbor; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.” (Rm 13:8-10; SM)
5. Today we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ our brother and Savior and we ask God our Father to give us the Holy Spirit of his Son Jesus Christ through his Son Jesus Christ so that we will do brotherly correction as an individual, as a group/community and as a Community/Church and save our brother from sin and death!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.