GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY = 10TH SEPTEMBER 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 10TH SEPTEMBER 2017
TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
FIRST READING: Ezekiel 33:7-9
PSALM: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
SECOND READING: Romans 13:3-10
GOSPEL: Matthew 18:15-20
THEME: SHOW SOME LOVE
There are people who sit on the same pews with us every Sunday in our churches who are living dangerously, walking on a thin rope across ‘the valley of the shadow of death’. We see the danger but shut our mouths. We know they can fall to their death but we hide behind unchristian expressions like, “Everyone for himself, God for us all” and “It’s none of my business”. Sadly, sometimes the downfall of a brother or sister becomes the cause of laughter for others in the same Christian community. We are quick to attend to our wounded animals but sometimes forget to attend to our brothers and sisters who are slowly ‘bleeding to death’ on account of an ill-choice they have made.
In addressing the issue of how to deal with a member of the Christian community who commits a sin, the Gospel offers us a three- step process of correction. Though the text itself does not qualify the kind of sin per se, we can infer from the context that it must be a grave matter to warrant such a thorough process of addressing it.
The first step is the one-on-one private correction (Mt. 18:15). If this does not work, the second step is to solicit the assistance of one or two others in the Christian community to counsel the person in question (Mt. 18:16). Hopefully, this should work; however, if this is unsuccessful, the third step to be employed is to bring the matter to the whole Christian community, i.e. the church (Mt. 18:17a). If the person is unwilling to listen even to the entire church, it may be a sign that he/she has decided not to be part of the community (Mt. 18:17b).
The important point to take note in this whole process is the concern for a brother or sister in Christ. In fact, the immediate verse preceding today’s Gospel text reads, “…it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Mt. 18:14). In other words, God expects us to do everything to bring an erring brother or sister back on track.
We see this clearly pointed out in the Book of Ezekiel. The Lord tells the prophet Ezekiel: “Son of man I have appointed you as watchman for the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them from me. If I say to someone wicked, ‘Evil- doer, you are to die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked person to renounce such ways, the wicked person will die for this guilt, but I shall hold you responsible for the death” (Ezek. 33:7-8).
When a brother or sister trips, it is our duty as Christians to offer a helping hand. This is love in action, and as Paul would say in Rom. 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the law.”
Is there any brother or sister in your community who is living dangerously? You have a Christian duty to reach out to that person in love and to do everything within your means to help him/her. Take responsibility and help save that life for whom Christ shed his blood. Show some love!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, help me not to close my eyes to the needs of my brothers and sisters. Make me an instrument of reconciliation to bring harmony into situations where there is disharmony and peace to hearts where there is strife. Amen.
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).