A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Mt 18:15-20).
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.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that ‘every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
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 a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you,
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.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”
Good News Reflection:
Jesus said to his disciples: “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you are present in the Church. You desire to bring unity and peace to a broken world. I believe and accept your call to help you in this task through my work and prayer. I know you will provide me with all that I need. Help me this day to do your work. Help me too to love you in each one of the people I encounter today.
Petition: May I recognize you Lord in each person I meet today. Help me to treat them as I would treat you.
1. Right There among Them. As on the first day after his resurrection, Jesus Christ is still here with his people. He did not simply come among us for a few years and then leave us orphans. He is with us and will be until the end. He promised it. He is constantly present with us through the community of believers, the Church, his body. It is important for us to recognize this presence of Christ among us since it alone is the source of true holiness. It is Jesus Christ whom we receive in the Eucharist. It is Christ with whom we directly interact when we live charity in our Christian homes and parish communities. Do I recognize Christ living and acting in my life and in the Church?
2. Results of Sin. The earth seen from outer space appears like a stupendous globe, peaceful and secure. Unfortunately because of man´s sin, it is a land of suffering. The people who live there — how well we know — are afraid. Nations are afraid of one another. Groups and organizations distrust and criticize each other. Mankind is splintered. Jesus and his mission of unity are the targets of all who wish to cause division, dissension and misinformation. As his followers we too are subject to the same sort of attacks.
3. One Flock. Jesus was well aware of suffering and division, and he prayed for unity. The greatest power we have, both in countering sin and in building community, is the power of prayer. When we pray for others, bringing to Christ for healing all sources of division — arguments, offenses, struggles, etc — we are united deeply with his heart and with the Church. The more united to Christ we are, the more he is able to guide and heal, teach and strengthen, and build his Kingdom of justice and love. Therefore prayer and participation in the sacraments should be my primary response to the failings and divisions I encounter each day.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, keep me close to you always so that when I see anyone fail I may imitate you and reach out to bring them back to you. Guide me in my work and prayer so as to help all those around me give themselves generously to build your Kingdom.
Resolution: I will strive not to speak badly of anyone today. Rather, I will come to the defense of anyone whose reputation is being marred
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC