July 15, 2014

The Gospel Today

Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Reflection (Sem. Eldrick Peña):

The message of today’s Gospel is very clear:  Correction should lead to repentance and the people of the aforementioned towns seem not to understand this.

This is also true in the seminary setting, where I am at.  It is a must that we give fraternal correction to our brother-seminarians.  It is an act of charity to correct whatever wrong our brother seminarian does.  It is done on a constructive matter in order to make the brother improve, and bring out the best in him, and not to pin him down, on the contrary.  This is one of the duties that we have as co-formators.  We are responsible for each one.

It is sometimes difficult to give correction especially when it is to be given to a brother who is in a higher level in the formation ladder and if the brother seems to be unrepentant and even unwilling to admit the mistake that he has committed.   But still, we are compelled out of fraternal charity to give the correction in order to bring out the best in our brother.  We try to “care-front” (not confront) the brother so that he may realize his mistake and make amends for it.  It is in the “mending” part where a brother’s sincerity to change for the better is really tested.

It might be hard to give and receive corrections if it is not understood in the context of love and concern for the one being corrected.  I remember the dynamics of conversion that we discussed in one of our spirituality classes.  The process of conversion begins with an awareness of the fault, then, the naming of such fault follows.  The person then has to own it and should have the desire to change and finally, he should act on the fault/mistake.

We are invited by today’s Gospel to be open to corrections and be sorry for our mistakes and to commit to change for the better.

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