For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser.
Our Gospel this Sunday comes in two parts. In the first part, Jesus gives some practical directives in regard to how to deal with disputes. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone ……….. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you ………. 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 tax collector.” Sadly, all too often we reverse this process, going first to others and only last to our brother or sister. The really important thing to note, though, is Jesus’ last words in this Gospel: “If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or tax collector.” And as we know from Jesus’ ministry, he welcomed Gentiles and tax collectors, and treated them with respect and love. These are very challenging words.
In the second half of this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus appears to make an impossible promise: “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.” In this regard, it is important to note that if two people are really united in prayer, they will also be united in their desire to do God’s will ----- and will pray to do God’s will.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. In it we are reminded that we have a responsibility to try to “warn the wicked” and turn them from their way. It is not enough simply to be concerned about our own welfare.
Our second reading this Sunday is once again taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans. In it Paul reminds us that the commandments of the Old Testament are summed up by the new commandment of Christ: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus is clear that we are to go to our brother or sister to try to resolve issues before going to anyone else. Why do so many of us do just the opposite?
2. How do you know when it is appropriate to challenge someone, and when it is better simply to accept their faults?
3. What is a practical way to love someone as you love yourself?