August 13, 2014

The Gospel Today

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 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. Mark Ian Abu):

Social beings as we are, we cannot help but to relate to many people around us. All of us involve ourselves in different relationships; may it be with our parents or with our siblings, friends, officemates, classmates, mentors and many others. In all these relationships we give our trust and confidence to the one we are relating with. Giving our trust to them involves sharing our life and experiences, empathizing with them, if necessary, and even sacrificing things for their good. But we cannot deny the fact that moments of anger, resentment and hatred come at times. We can consider these as challenges to the relationship. The manner by which the two parties deal with such challenges would either make or break the relationship.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is inviting us to have a very compassionate and just disposition in all the relationships that we have. Given the possibility of having misunderstanding with our brothers and sisters, we are compelled to undergo the necessary ways of dealing with them. Here, dialogue and fraternal confrontation will be very important in order to restore and even strengthen the bond that is being affected by circumstances.

My life in the seminary is a great opportunity to practice this great act of mercy, an act of being compassionate to others. Living with different persons, with their different backgrounds and orientations, normally brings conflict and misunderstanding with each other. Yet the practice of fraternal correction is a big help not only in mending the wounds of unavoidable conflicts and tensions but also in deepening the brotherhood and community life that we are building here. Living in a community is a challenge and invitation to be humble. It is also an opportunity to foster a healthy and transparent relationship with every member of this family. In some ways, dialogue and fraternal confrontation would lead to growth in respect and trust. In situations like this, God will reign and be present to bless and enrich the relationship with each other.

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