Sunday, September 7, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, September 7, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Ezekiel 33:7-9
Thus says the Lord: You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.
P S A L M - Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalm to him. (R) Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. (R) Oh, that today you would hear his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.” (R)

2ND READING - Romans 13:8-10
Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other  commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Matthew 18:15-20
15 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. 16 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.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. 18 Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”



In the Bible, we sometimes come across passages that are as relevant and practical in our lives today as they were thousands of years ago when they were first written. Today’s readings are good examples of such passages. They remind us that, as faithful Christians, it is our responsibility to reach out to our not-so-faithful brothers and sisters and bring them back into the fold. They even recommend practical steps on how to go about doing this.

       Broken relationships are common everywhere. Gossiping, telling the sins and faults of others behind their backs, is even more common. It is obvious that this destroys relationships. Jesus knows this only too well and so tells us what to do when we see somebody making mistakes — to confront the wrongdoer in an open and face-to-face dialogue.
       I know that is not part of the Philippine culture. In Europe, this is common and it is not taken personally, while here, every word that sounds critical is taken personally. And yet, we cannot say, “Lord, sorry, what You teach us today does not apply in our culture.”

       Some people correct others because they are busybodies. Others, like the Pharisees, do so in order to exalt themselves as they put others down. The disciple, however, intervenes out of love — love for God and His children, but especially for the sinner who is damaged the most by his own sin.

       “But,” you may say, “they won’t listen, so why bother?” Simple —because God says so!

         In baptism and confirmation, you were anointed priest, prophet andking; you share in Christ’s priestly, royal and prophetic roles. It is easy and pleasant to participate in Christ’s priesthood and royalty, but we tend to avoid the prophetic role. The bottom line is, we owe a debt of love to our brothers and sisters, as St. Paul writes in today’s Second Reading. If we proceed in a spirit of love, with God’s help we have a good chance of bringing back a child of His gone astray. It is well worth trying. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you correct others? And if you do, what is your motive — pride or love?

Lord, give me the courage to help a brother or sister who has committed a mistake — and the right words so that the person feels my love and Yours.

Blessed Frederick Ozanam, pray for us.

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