Saturday, September 03, 2011
23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – A
23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – A
Ez 33:7-9 / Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 / Rom 13:8-10 / Mt 18:15-20
EZEKIEL 33:1, 7-9
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: For your part,
son of man, I have set you as a watchman for Israel, and when you hear
my word, you must give them my warning. When I say to the wicked:
`Wicked man, you shall die for sure,' if you do not warn the wicked
man to turn from his ways, he will die because of his sin, but I will
also call you to account for his blood. If you warn the wicked man to
turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but
you yourself will be saved.
Brothers and sisters, do not be in debt to anyone. Let this be the
only debt of one to another: Love. The one who loves his or her
neighbor fulfilled the Law. For the commandments: Do not commit
adultery, do not kill, do not covet and whatever else are summarized
in this one: You will love your neighbor as yourself. Love cannot do
the neighbor any harm; so love fulfills the whole Law.
Jesus said to his disciples, "If your brother or sister has sinned
against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are in
private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. If you
are not listened to, take with you one or two others so that the case
may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he still
refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he
does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan or a
publican. "I say to you: whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep
bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound. In
like manner, I say to you: if on earth two of you are united in asking
for anything, it will be granted to you by my heavenly Father. For
where two or three are gathered in my Name, I am there among them."
One of the most tragic refusals to care for one's brother in the
scriptures is found in the book of Genesis on the account of Cain's
hardened response to God. When God asked Cain about the whereabouts of
his brother Abel whom he had murdered out of envy, he answered, "Am I
my brother's keeper?"
Cain's reply was a display of utter disregard for his brother, a
willful act of cutting off his relationship with his brother. When the
Lord asked Cain about his younger brother, it was not just simply to
know how Cain's brother was or where he was. More deeply, it was to
impress on Cain that he was essentially his brother's keeper.
The first reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel echoes the same
theme of responsibility for one's brother. The watchman is a brother
to the people whom he warns of impending danger and it is his
responsibility to do so. In the same way, the prophet is a brother to
the wicked whom he warns about the wrath of God if he does not turn
away from his wicked ways. If the prophet fails to do his
responsibility and the wicked man continues to do evil things, the
wicked man is ultimately punished but his blood is on the hands of the
prophet who neglected to warn him. And so it is the duty and the
responsibility of a brother to correct his brother who is in the wrong
because evil deeds will surely reap punishment. The brother must do so
even if ultimately, it is the responsibility of the wrongdoer himself
to respond or not to respond to his correction.
The Gospel reading again echoes the same theme of responsibility for
one's brother. It teaches us further the Christian way of fraternal
correction. At the heart of Christian fraternal correction is love and
charity. Telling one of his faults is not meant to condemn the person
for his wrongdoing before others or to put him down but to help the
person rise from his falling into sin. All means are exhausted to
bring the erring person back to righteousness. The action of severing
the erring person from the community as a last resort is meant to give
him time to think on his own and, at the same time, to preserve the
integrity of the community. Charity is exercised all the way if the
community welcomes him back.
That is why in the Gospel reading, the first step in correction is
done in private. Bringing the case higher is again done in charity to
give him more help, to see in a more objective way his wrongdoing, and
hopefully get a positive outcome from it. When everything possible has
been done and the erring person still does not respond with good will,
that person should be separated from the community and treated as a
Gentile or a tax collector.
We are our brothers' keeper. We have the responsibility to correct and
to teach righteousness. But it is a great responsibility which we must
prepare ourselves for. Thus, we too have to be persons of
righteousness and truth. We too must know righteousness and truth and
act under its direction. And the only way to be persons of
righteousness and truth is not just to know the teachings but to
follow the person of Jesus. We know Jesus' teachings of loving God and
one's neighbor, but we must also imitate him in actually manifesting
love of God and one's neighbor in the way he has shown us. Thus, we
are our brothers' keeper by reaching out to them during their time of
weakness and vulnerability. We are our brothers' keeper by being in
solidarity with them in their time of need. We are our brothers'
keeper by teaching our brothers to learn to look humbly to others for
But perhaps, to be a true brother's keeper is to recognize that a
brother's keeper is at the same time a brother in need and so, he also
needs the care and keeping of his brother. And so he understands how
important it is to be responsible for one's brother. There is
mutuality in being a brother's keeper by allowing one's self to be
cared for. In this way, being a brother's keeper is made more
meaningful and full of reason. Jesus showed us an example of himself.
He humbled himself by becoming a man and made himself vulnerable by
being born in a stable. He allowed himself to submit to John's baptism
which was meant for sinners even if he himself was sinless. He allowed
himself to be taken care of by his friends and he too grew hungry with
them. And yet he was his brother's keeper by being the Good Shepherd.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Wilfredo Tadiosa
- Mrs. Loida Buensalida, Ysabel Generoso, Mrs. Ochie Padilla
… for the eternal repose of the souls of Ruben M. Pasion. Eternal rest
grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them. May they and
all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Jhon Y. Rojas
- Birthday: Patrick Lawrence N. Sy
- Wedding Anniversary: Dondi & Aileen Narciso
- In Memoriam (+): Ana Bernabe Guieb
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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