Gospel Reflection for the 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – September 7th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, is 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.
‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.
‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’
When we disagree with people over big or even small things, we want to have nothing to do with them. Family rows over partners, wills, money, or just relations gone cold. Same with the people of the gospel today. A big disagreement in the community. Have nothing to do with them. Let them be like the tax collector…and they were all delighted to hear Jesus saying that. Red cards for them all. And Jesus seems to agree.
We all have the groups and the people we reject or look down on. Priests, bankers, politicians. Or the elderly, the terminally ill, people with lifelong disability. We give the red card to many groups.
But look more deeply…..how did Jesus treat tax collectors and pagans. He went to them. Far side of the lake for the pagans. The loaves and fishes for them as well and he brought them into the community of apostles and friends.
For Jesus nobody is an outsider. The only red card is that of martyrdom. Even if he seems to ‘excommunicate’ people it is because of their lack of openness and tolerance. Other truths take over for him. That we are children of the same God. The whole world. There are no outsiders to God’s love.
Also, we burden ourselves with our prejudices. Revenge is sweet but only for a while. To forgive or even desire to forgive is a freedom. To pray for our enemies is a freedom for ourselves and pleasing to God.
Forgive us Father, as we try to forgive each other.
Donal Neary SJ
This entry was posted in Gospel of Matthew, Gospel Reflection, Liturgy Resources, Prayer Resources, Scripture and tagged community, disciples, Donal Neary SJ, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom of forgiveness, Gospel Reflection, Jesus, Love, love conquers everything, Matthew 18:15-20, pagans, social exclusion, Sunday Gospel Reading and Reflection for 7th September 2014, Sunday Scripture and Reflection for 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year A, tax collectors.