Today’s Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20
Optional Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious
Jesus gives us the ultimate model of conflict resolution in today’s Gospel. If only we would actually follow His directions!
When we have a problem with a friend, neighbor, or coworker, what do we do? Instead of finding a good time to speak about the matter privately with the person, most of us usually go off and blab about it to someone else! We put our selfish need to vent, be understood, or feel validated above the other person’s right not to be gossiped about. This usually accomplishes nothing. The person who offended us remains in the dark or unmotivated to change without the issue coming to light. Meanwhile, we end up feeling worse for having gossiped and are left to stew in our hurt feelings.
Instead of blabbing about the problem to anyone who will listen, Jesus instructs us to respect the person enough to “tell him his fault between you and him alone.” It takes a tremendous amount of courage to tell a person when they have hurt us. Yet, we are obligated to admonish the sinner and offer fraternal correction. Similarly, it takes a great deal of humility to be on the receiving end of fraternal correction. Only a person of strong character can receive correction, apologize for wrongdoing, and do so without offering excuses or qualifiers.
How did I respond the last time someone bravely pulled me aside and offered me fraternal correction? Will my (over)reaction hinder them from following Jesus’ model?
Jesus, thank you for teaching us how to be reconciled to one another in the midst of conflict. Help us to remember that you also taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as you forgive those who trespass against us.” Embolden me to admonish the sinner in love, but more importantly, humble me enough to change when I am admonished in love. Please give me a merciful heart that is full of compassion, slow to anger, and full of Your Love.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Catherine Boucher