From the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.
‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.
‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’
After reading the Gospel, is there anything in particular that stands out for you? Consider the following questions.
I think about my life:
- What is God asking me to listen to?
- What does God want me to pay attention to?
- What is God prompting, directing, leading and guiding me to in this reading?
I think about my community and the world:
- What is God asking of us at this time?
- What is God wanting us to attend to in our community and our world?
- What is God prompting, directing, leading and guiding us towards?
When praying with lectio divina, meditating on the Scriptures, it is important to reflect not in the context of “Jesus tells us to do this” but rather “let us celebrate Jesus at work in the world.” When we live this way, we are able to more easily recognise moments of grace.
In the Gospel today we encounter skills for managing conflict in our lives.
We all know that following Jesus Christ is much easier said than done. Our own shortcomings lead us to stumble again and again. The shortcomings of other Christians can at times lead us to feeling hurt or embarrassed.
Despite these shortcomings, we must continue with our task of being disciples. As a result, we must be prepared to take the risk of pointing out the shortcomings of others… and what is even more difficult is having the humility to hear and learn from those who point out our own shortcomings, blind spots, weaknesses and failings.
Today we are invited to reflect again on our own need for forgiveness, our need to grow as disciples and our need for greater self-knowledge. We are reminded again that our belonging to the Church means that we belong to a community of brothers and sisters in Christ. The community is essential to our belonging and living this way.
In the big questions of life, we need the advice, support and love of the other. In small and big things we are each other’s keepers. Jesus is saying something similar to this today.
God wants the best for each of us. We can help support one another on this journey to wholeness, this journey to God; by supporting each other, advising each other, praying with and for each other and helping each other along the way. It may not be easy a lot of the time, but we are being called to live in that uncomfortable space when needed.
You may like to recall a time when someone gave you good advice (even if you may not have liked it at the time). Be grateful for this and pray for the humility to be open to these moments and the wisdom to help others along the way.