August 16, 2017
Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
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. Edgar R. Calma)

Part of human relationships is always the opportunity to do brotherly or sisterly correction. This is usually experienced at home, in groups and communities living together. It is done out of concern for the other person, but more importantly, it should be rooted in love. And because of its rootedness in love, the manner and ways that brotherly or sisterly correction is done should be humane and self-uplifting. However, this is easier said than done, for the very reason that it is very difficult and challenging to really have an honest to goodness fraternal correction.

The Gospel for today speaks about how to deal with a brother who sinned against you. Our Lord Jesus Christ proposes a process to follow namely: First, to go and tell the person directly his fault. But the condition is it should be between you and him or her. If the first step fails, we are invited to take one or two others along as witnesses for spiritual and moral support during the dialogue. And if the second step fails, Jesus asked as to go to the Church for help. But this process of preserving and building fraternity is deeply rooted in prayer as Jesus commanded us, “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.”

All of us have our own share of conflicts, misunderstanding, battles, fights, clashes and skirmishes with some of our brothers and sisters whether in our own families, groups and communities where we live, stay, transact and work together. We are being encouraged and at the same time challenged by the Gospel to see and remain with our Lord Jesus Christ even in the midst of these encounters in our own lives. This means to be open and discerning through prayer. Faithfulness in our prayer will humble us, direct us to focus on solutions rather than on the sins committed against us, transform us to be more forgiving and give us the strength to search for life-giving opportunities in the midst of challenging and difficult situations. Our Lord Jesus Christ assures us that when we pray even in the middle of conflicts and misunderstanding, He will be in our midst to love and comfort us.

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