Gospel Reflection for September 10, 2023 – 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Ezekiel 33.7-9, Romans 13.8-10, Matthew 18.15-20

“If another member of the church, a brother or sister, sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained him or her. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Matthew 18.15-16).

In Hebrew the word for truth refers to what holds and stands firm like the stakes that hold a tent in place. In Matthew’s early Christian church communities face differences among them that often cause trouble and irritation just as in our world truth isn’t as clear as many might prefer. Among us, life is not the same for the 1% and the 99%, for women and men, for people of different races and ethnic groups, nor in the A.D, 85 for Jews and Gentiles mixing in the house churches.

Only Matthew uses the word church (ekklesia in Greek) to refer to the Christian community. Only Matthew gathers Jesus’ sayings about dealing with a brother or sister Christan who wrongs another. “Talk it through” is the nub of Jesus’ advice. In step one the wronged person talks to the brother or sister when they are alone, face-to-face. If one-to-one doesn’t work, the process calls for the wronged person to bring witnesses along for a second face-to-face. If they are ignored, the matter should be brought to the church community as a whole.  Jesus promises to be with us where two or three of us gather in his name.

How has face-to-face conversation worked for clearing up a wrong or supposed wrong in your experience? 

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