REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 11, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Jesus said to his disciples ‘If your brother* sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ Matt. 18:15-16.
Winning soul back to God and the Church is one of the primary responsibilities of every Christian and this entail forgiveness and reconciliation. In teaching his disciples how to respond when others offend you or sinned against another member of the Church, Jesus main concern and goal is not to condemn but regain the wrongdoer in love.
In our gospel reference of today, Jesus outlines the various steps at reconciliation. The first step at reconciliation should be made one-on-one, then with the help of a couple of brothers or sisters in the Lord, then through the ministry of the Church.
Mercy is meant to triumph over judgement in all the steps. Room must be left for the healing ministry of the Lord who said, “two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). This is a bold promise from our Lord as it reveals Jesus’ desire that we pray with others, uniting our prayer as one and offering it to the Father. Jesus says that when we do this in union with His prayer, our prayer will be answered.
As Christians we know there is great power in prayer, great wisdom in Scripture and great protection in the teaching of the Church. How often do we avail ourselves today of these avenues of reconciliation? Is it not because we understand Jesus’ call for mercy is also a call to give up our desire for revenge and stern justice?
The whole gospel message is founded on the call to love everyone as fully as God has loved us, even those who have hurt us. This is the radical call to love Jesus is calling on us especially when we have every reason to do as others have done to us.
As humans in our complex society, we are not immune to serious dispute. But Jesus calls us to examine the ways we react in such situations. Is our first inclination to seek wisdom from God’s Spirit and counsel of the Church? or are we quick to condemn and exact what is our due? Do we abandon the consolation of prayer and Scripture to rely solely on psychology’s current trend?
Reflect, today, upon the many we Jesus is calling you to a higher degree and level of love by reconciliation. How often do you appeal to your rational inclination to seek justice rather than mercy? How much do you tap on the rich resources you have in the scriptures and the teaching tradition of the Church? It is never too late to begin afresh today in following the steps laid down by Jesus and allowing mercy and love be our primary objective in life.
Lord, all that You ask of the Father is granted to You. Please draw me and all the members of Your Church into Your perfect prayer to the Father. May we appreciate you call to reconciliation and the primacy of mercy and love. Whenever we are besieged by challenging situations, keep us steadfast in faith as we look forward to the fullness of your salvation. Jesus, I trust in You.