The Gospel Today
Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
Mt. 18: 15-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”
Reflection (Sem. Edgar Calma):
In the Gospel, Christ is giving us a practical approach that we should follow in providing fraternal correction with our erring brothers or sisters. The approach has three phases. The first is the one-on-one dialogue. If this approach fails, Christ is asking us to move to the second phase, which is elevating the matter with other brothers in the community and finally if the two phases fail to address the concern with our brother or sister, it will be wise to go to the Church for guidance and intervention. And if these three phases would still fail, Christ is telling us to stop and avoid any engagement with the erring brother or sister. But more than following the process in fraternal correction, I believe that there are also three important values that we need to have in order to make the approach successful. These three (3) values are Openness, Empathy, and Forgiveness. Our relationship with other people would normally involve conflicts and relational issues. It is important that we learn how to do the three phases with openness, empathy and forgiveness. Openness allows us to suspend any judgement or preconceived notion that we have about the person or situation. This will give an opportunity to receive unbiased information from our brother or sister. As we become open, it is also important that we empathize with our brother or sister. This means understanding where he or she is coming from and allowing ourselves to ponder on what was shared. And finally, the willingness and readiness to forgive if needed. In doing fraternal correction, these two are very important. The approach and the values that we should carry during the dialogue or discussion. For at the end of the day, we would request other people to be open, to be understanding and to forgive; when we fail and needed fraternal correction.