Thursday 17 July 2014

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Sometimes we come to a situation where we are upset or angry with another person because a wrong has been committed. When we are faced with such a situation, what do we do? Some of us may avoid talking to the person entirely and do not want to have anything to do with the person. Some of us may avoid talking to the person, but choose to talk about the person behind his or her back (which is basically gossiping). Some of us may choose to confront the person, but we may do so in a fierce or menacing way. How many of us are able to confront another with love, patience and compassion?

In today's Gospel, Jesus gives us an example of how we should love others and how we should deal with them should a wrong have been committed. Jesus tells us: "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. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector." Notice that our dealing with someone who has done something wrong should be done gradually. At first, alone with him or her, then get one or two witnesses, then get the community involved. We should never try to jump the gun and get others involved without dealing personally with the person first. After all, our objective is to deal with the wrong done and not to shame, belittle or embarrass the other person in the presence of other people.

St. Paul tells us in the second reading: “Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.” Love is not a feeling but a decision. We choose to have love, patience and compassion for others, and just as God loves us all, we too should love all. However, Love does not mean we give in to other people's demands, but to be firm, patient and tough but kind. Let us be genuine in our love towards others, being firm and tough where necessary, and gentle at heart, just as God loves and guides us as His children.

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