TWENTY THIRD SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
6th September 2020
Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20.
Today’s readings focus on brotherly correction. The first reading from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us that we are responsible for our erring brothers and sisters. The second reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans reminds us that we owe each other love. The gospel according to Matthew urges us to go and have it out with our erring brother or sister alone. It is through genuine love that we build and maintain our families, relationships and communities.
Why is it difficult these days to correct someone? Why do people get offended when corrected? Why are we indifferent to people’s faults or mistakes? Why are we afraid to loose our friends by correcting their faults? What sort of friendship is it when we force ourselves to live with avoidable mistakes? Where is the space for love in our relationships? Finally, how genuine is our love for our friends? It is very obvious that in our contemporary world, friendship is very expensive. A lot of people are suffering in their relationship because of inherited enemies. The true picture of friendship today is: your friends will be my friends and your enemies will be my enemies. Which do we prefer in our relationships: love or loyalty?
Most people will go for loyalty because it is the easy way out. A few will opt for love hoping to live up to the responsibility it demands. Both should go together if our relationships are to be genuine. Jesus said in today’s gospel: “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”. It shows an action that combines loyalty and love. Confronting a friend with the truth is love; ensuring it is between your two selves is loyalty.
What Jesus commands us to do is to owe each other love, to be responsible for each other by correcting them when they act in error. Our relationships must be a combination of love and loyalty.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.