September 4, 2005
Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 4, 2005
"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts!"
Readings: Ezekiel 33:7-9, Psalm 95, Romans 13: 8-10, Matthew 18: 15-20
Today we hear an especially difficult challenge in the scriptures. We are challenged to look at the way we offer correction to brother and sister Christians who are in error, either in their thinking or in their behavior. We are called to fraternal correction, to challenge those who take for granted the Gospel of Christ, but the way we handle that correction can either lead others to Christ or turn them away.
There are two extremes. The first is those who do nothing. If we were to see a child playing in the street, would we call that child off of the street, or go to him if he weren’t able to hear us? Of course we would. However, many Christians see others playing with their eternal salvation by embracing lifestyles that are unchristian, and do nothing. Perhaps we are afraid of being rejected by someone we love. Perhaps we feel like we don’t want to “make waves” in our family or friendships. There are many reasons why we do nothing when we see someone in danger. The honest truth is that sometimes all we can do is pray for the person, but that should be our first act, not our last. In prayer the Lord may help us discern how we can better help the person embrace the Truth of Christ and turn his heart and mind more toward our Lord.
The second extreme is to use the Truth of Christ like a club to beat someone into submission. This is not a Christian response, either, though it is far too often used. We cannot convert people’s hearts by beating them down. We convert people’s hearts by lifting them up in love. If we come across as angry, resentful, prideful, arrogant, a “know-it-all,” it is no wonder those we try to convert end up further away. If that’s the way they see a Christian acting, who would want to be one?
We are called to correct our brothers and sisters who are not living the gospel. We are called to correct them in love. When someone in our family or among our friends is not living the gospel, the first thing we should do is pray for that person. In prayer, the Lord will open our minds and hearts to him or her, and grant us a greater understanding for that person. The Lord can help us cast into the deep in order to find the real issue with which that person is struggling. When someone needs fraternal correction, we start by listening to the Lord. We continue by listening to that person. We cannot run waving our banners as if we have the answers that people need to hear without having first heard what their questions are. The matter of fraternal correction is an exercise in patience, in which we discern the real need of those who have done wrong.
The last thing we need to remember is how easy it is to sin. We are all sinners. We all need to be corrected. Remembering our own sinfulness can help us be humble servants of the Lord, leading others into truth. If we are not humble, we cannot help others.
How can I better serve the Lord when I am challenged to correct the behavior of a brother or sister Christian?
List of all Reflections:
|10/31/2012||November 4, 2012 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/24/2012||October 28, 2012-Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/17/2012||October 21, 2012-Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|02/29/2012||Second Sunday of Lent|
|01/18/2012||Third Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|08/17/2010||August 22, 2010|
|08/12/2010||Assumption of Mary|
The Birthday of the Church|
|05/29/2008||Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/16/2006||29th Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/13/2006||28th Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|06/28/2006||Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|01/23/2006||January 29th, 2006|
|01/16/2006||January 22nd, 2006|
|01/09/2006||January 15th, 2006|
|12/28/2005||New Years Day|
|11/21/2005||First Sunday of Advent|
|11/14/2005||Solemnity of Christ the King|
|11/09/2005||November 13, 2005|
|09/27/2005||October 2, 2005|
|09/19/2005||September 25, 2005|
|09/13/2005||September 18, 2005|
|09/05/2005||September 11, 2005|
|08/31/2005||September 4, 2005|
|07/11/2005||July 17, 2005|
|07/07/2005||July 10, 2005|
|07/06/2005||July 3, 2005|
|06/21/2005||June 26, 2005|
|06/14/2005||June 19th, 2005|
|05/23/2005||Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ|
|05/16/2005||Holy Trinity Sunday|
|05/05/2005||May 8, 2005|
|04/26/2005||May 1st, 2005|
|04/18/2005||Fifth Sunday of Easter|
|04/11/2005||Fourth Sunday of Easter|
|04/06/2005||THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER|
|04/06/2005||Divine Mercy Sunday|
|04/05/2005||Holy Thursday Homily|
|03/25/2005||The Passion of John|
|03/07/2005||FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT|
|02/28/2005||Fourth Sunday of Lent|
|02/23/2005||Third Sunday of Lent|
|02/14/2005||Second Sunday of Lent|
|02/10/2005||First Sunday of Lent|
|01/31/2005||Feb. 6, 2005|
|01/24/2005||January 30th, 2005|
|01/17/2005||January 23, 2005|
|01/10/2005||January 16, 2005|
|01/05/2005||January 9th, 2005|
|01/02/2005||January 2, 2005|
|12/28/2004||Mary, Mother of God - Jan. 1st|
|12/26/2004||Feast of the Holy Family|
|12/13/2004||Fourth Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 24: 1-6.
Romans 1:1-7. Matthew 1:18-24.|
|12/06/2004||Third Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10. Psalm 146:6-10.
James 5:7-10. Matthew 11:2-11.
|12/01/2004||Second Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10. Psalm 72, 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17.
Romans 15:4-9. Matthew 3: 1-12|
|11/29/2004||First Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5. Psalm 122:1-9.
Romans 13:11-14. Matthew 24:37-44.|
|11/22/2004||The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122:1-5,
Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43|