23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Reading: Matthew 18: 15-20

Love is not only seen as a command, but also the summary of all the commandments (Romans 13, 9-20). This is why God’s word is emphasizing today; “owe no one anything, except the debt of love” (Romans 13, 8). And this debt or duty of love is the foundation of harmony in our communities. One of these ways is highlighted in today’s Gospel as “Fraternal charity” This entails correcting our brothers or sisters in a loving manner, without seeking to humiliate or disgrace them, but to help them realize their faults and put them in the right path in a loving manner.
While on a long trip, a couple stopped for lunch at a restaurant along the highway. After a quick meal, they resumed their trip. After travelling for half an hour, the woman realized she left her glasses in the restaurant. When the husband learned about it, he was very angry. But he had no choice. They had to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses. All the way back, the husband complained and berated his wife relentlessly. Finally, when they arrived at the restaurant, the woman got out of the car and as she hurried inside, the husband called out to her, “While you are in there, you might as well get my wallet and my credit card!”
Beloved, we all have our weaknesses and mistakes, this is the reality of our human nature. When individual mistakes and sins or weaknesses are not handled in fraternal charity, it disrupts the community harmony. How often do we avoid those who oppose us and have wronged or hurt us.
In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the principles of reconciliation or restoring harmony. To keep loving the person who has wronged us, to take the first step towards reconciliation, to respect the other’s dignity and to avoid the other’s humiliation. The goal is not to prove who is right or wrong, but the salvation of person(s) soul and glorification of God.
Hence, Christ gives us a three-dimensional principle of reconciliation. First, we must sit down and dialogue one on one, and face to face. Then, seek the mediation of a good friend, and finally, seek the mediation of our community or family. We must make all efforts to reconcile with others through dialogue. Today’s Gospel is not easy to follow, but I pray that by the power of His word today, may you and I be inspired and empowered to fulfil the demands of today’s reflection.

MASS: GREEN TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY OF THE YEAR (A) Ezek 33:7-9; Ps 95:1-2.6-7abc.7d-9(R.7d.8a); Rom 13:8-10; Accl 2 Cor 5:19; Gospel Mt 18:15-20

Prayer Points:

  1. Take the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in DSD section A
  2. Pray for God’s help to forgive and genuinely relate with those who have offended you

Exercise: When the ordinary structures of reconciliation breaks down, the true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ must seek the one who is lost, just like the Master would! Take to this path.

Meditation: Romans 15:5-6