MASS READINGS: Ezekiel 33:7-9
A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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: "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."
We have been conditioned by society into believing that we should not judge, should not condemn and that silence is better than confronting others' sins. So we hesitate.....
Ezekiel is appointed watchman for the house of Israel. The Lord told Ezekiel, "If you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. (emphasis mine) But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself." (emphasis mine) God tells Ezekiel to teach only what he hears God saying.
In Romans, St Paul tells us that we "owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another". Many when they hear "love" go back to the sixties of "flower power" (1960-1970) or the coddling of the Gen Z generation (1997-2012). But St Paul goes on to say, " Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the Law." But we hear people cite scripture verses of "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." So we hesitate....
And now Jesus in Matthew gives the apostles the power to bind and loose, to forgive sins and to reconcile sinners. And Jesus encourages us to gather together in His name to pray and seek His will for ourselves and others. It is our obligation to bring sinners back from the wrong path.
We have a duty to correct sinners with love, a noncondemning tone and with respect. We must never give up. So if we cannot sway their thinking or their actions, we pray for them.
Though the list may be long, place each person you are praying for in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, saying on their behalf, "Lord, I am so sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Please bless me." Share the names on our PAPA Prayer Intention* on our website. "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."
God Bless You.
*The prayer list appears once a week on newsflash on the website. It is freshened weekly. Recommended prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Mass, adoration or any devotion.