65101Jefferson City, MO 65101
St. Peter Catholic Church Jefferson City, MO 65101St. Peter Catholic Church
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September 4, 2005
Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 4, 2005

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts!"
Psalm 95

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:

09/24/201426th Sunday in Ordinary Time
09/23/201425th Sunday in Ordinary Time
02/11/2014Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/29/2014Presentation of the Lord
01/22/2014Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/15/2014Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/09/2014The Baptism of the Lord
12/11/2013Third Sunday in Advent
10/30/2013October 6, 2013
10/23/2013October 27, 2013
10/16/2013October 20, 2013
10/09/2013October 13, 2013
09/23/2013September 29, 2013
08/21/2013August 25, 2013 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/31/2012November 4, 2012 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/24/2012October 28, 2012-Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/17/2012October 21, 2012-Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
02/29/2012Second Sunday of Lent
01/18/2012Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
08/24/2010August 29th
08/17/2010August 22, 2010
08/12/2010Assumption of Mary
05/25/2009Pentecost The Birthday of the Church
05/29/2008Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/16/200629th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10/13/200628th Sunday in Ordinary Time
06/28/2006Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
01/23/2006January 29th, 2006
01/16/2006January 22nd, 2006
01/09/2006January 15th, 2006
12/28/2005New Years Day
11/21/2005First Sunday of Advent
11/14/2005Solemnity of Christ the King
11/09/2005November 13, 2005
09/27/2005October 2, 2005
09/19/2005September 25, 2005
09/13/2005September 18, 2005
09/05/2005September 11, 2005
08/31/2005September 4, 2005
07/11/2005July 17, 2005
07/07/2005July 10, 2005
07/06/2005July 3, 2005
06/21/2005June 26, 2005
06/14/2005June 19th, 2005
05/23/2005Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
05/16/2005Holy Trinity Sunday
05/05/2005May 8, 2005
04/26/2005May 1st, 2005
04/18/2005Fifth Sunday of Easter
04/11/2005Fourth Sunday of Easter
04/06/2005Divine Mercy Sunday
04/05/2005Holy Thursday Homily
03/25/2005The Passion of John
03/14/2005PALM SUNDAY
02/28/2005Fourth Sunday of Lent
02/23/2005Third Sunday of Lent
02/14/2005Second Sunday of Lent
02/10/2005First Sunday of Lent
02/07/2005Ash Wednesday
01/31/2005Feb. 6, 2005
01/24/2005January 30th, 2005
01/17/2005January 23, 2005
01/10/2005January 16, 2005
01/05/2005January 9th, 2005
01/02/2005January 2, 2005
12/28/2004Mary, Mother of God - Jan. 1st
12/26/2004Feast of the Holy Family
12/13/2004Fourth Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 24: 1-6. Romans 1:1-7. Matthew 1:18-24.
12/06/2004Third Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10. Psalm 146:6-10. James 5:7-10. Matthew 11:2-11.
12/01/2004Second 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
11/29/2004First Sunday of Advent Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5. Psalm 122:1-9. Romans 13:11-14. Matthew 24:37-44.
11/22/2004The 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