“If another member of the church 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 that one. 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. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
None of us is called to follow Jesus alone; we’re all called into a community of believers. This reality of our call means that we have certain obligations to love one another as we make our way with Jesus, obligations to support one another on the way – even when this loving support means confrontation.
Father Zosima, a character in Dostevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, says at one point in the novel that “Love in action is a harsh and readful thing compared to love in dreams.” Our duty to at times confront one another is certainly an example of such a thing.
The consolation of today’s Gospel is the reminder that this sort of confrontation – “confrontation for the Kingdom” we might call it – is a holy act: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is a professor of education and Rector of the Jesuit community at John Carroll University, University Heights OH.
Lord, in those moments when my heart is most burning with desire to speak words to another but my fear holds me back, let your Holy Spirit be my guide. Help me to consider what the other person needs to hear and grant me the wisdom to speak with courage and consideration.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!