On this 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, the readings reveal once again how Gospel values contribute to the common good of society. Our faith has a role to play in the life of believers, and through us in the broader society.
St. Paul tells us to owe no debt to anyone except that of loving others. He speaks of genuine love which seeks the good of others. Sure, do not harm, but we are also to go beyond that to building relationships that advance goodness – which our Catholic Social Doctrine calls the common good.
God instructs the Prophet Ezekiel to speak his word to Israel. When we see someone engaged in sinful behavior we are to try to correct them. In short, the Prophet says we are responsible for each other.
We must be careful today not to live only in the false world created by social media, where so many engage in condemnation and agenda driven untruths.
We are to speak to each other and build ties of solidarity.
Jesus gives us instruction today for fraternal correction. Think of how our many different relationships today could improve by following this teaching of Jesus.
If someone wrongs me, I am to go directly to that person to seek reconciliation. If that does not work, then take two or three others who can help verify the truth of the relationship or situation. The goal is seeking goodness, truth, justice, restoration of relationships.
If even those measures fail, then take the matter to the broader community, and if that fails, then treat the person as an outcast. This final step is not meant to be punitive as much as it is done with a hope to cause the person to recognize how they have broken communion by living outside of communion, so that they will finally seek restoration and healing.
God is patient and faithful, always loving – as the story of the prodigal son makes known. When through the course of salvation history, the human race continually failed in keeping our covenant with God, he came personally to us in his Son, Jesus.
Let us seek a stronger faithfulness to God. Let us work to heal relationships. Let us put our Gospel values to work in the world around us as we strive to grow in holiness and advance the common good for all.
Today’s Gospel proclamation and homily begin at 28:45 mark in the video of Mass from St. James Cathedral.
You may also wish to check out today’s Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Seattle, where we also celebrated the life of St. Peter Claver during their 10:00 Mass.
Posted by Immaculate Conception Church, Seattle on Sunday, September 6, 2020