September 10th 2017

Contents:

  1. Parish Bulletin for Holy Family and Sacred Heart
  2. Newsletter for St Benedict's
  3. This Sunday's Readings
  4. Sunday Reflection
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St Benedict's Newsletter is not available this week

This Sunday's Readings

First Reading Ezekiel 33:7-9

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: 'Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.

Second Reading Romans 13:8-10

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.

Gospel Reading Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus said, 'If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, is between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.

"I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven."

"I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them."


Sunday Reflection 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (10.09.17)

Today we reflect on the pros and cons of speaking out.

In the Gospel Matthew talks about the duty of a Christian to correct an erring brother or sister.

But there is a way of doing this.

The advice is straightforward:- "If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves."

Interestingly, the Gospel says that the offended party, not the offending one should seek reconciliation.

It counsels personal intervention and honest confrontation.

It encourages members of the Christian community to straighten things out with each other privately,

If that is at all possible.

As Fr. Denis McBride puts it so well: "Christians ought to deal with each other candidly and personally ... no anonymous complaints to the Authorities ...no whisper campaigns...the purpose of confronting another is not to humiliate but to be reconciled."

If the offender repents, forgiveness must be warm and without limits or conditions. Surely this is not too much to expect from one who is conscious of one's own failings, and who has experienced God's forgiveness.

If he proves intransigent and refuses to see the light, what then?

We could seek advice from some wise and trusted person, and if this does not work, we could consult a wider group of responsible people.

However, the whole aim of the exercise is not to score points against my brother, but to help be reconciled with him. As Christ Himself emphasises (CF Matthew 5: 23-24) to seek reconciliation is more important than to offer sacrifice.

Yes, reconciliation is not easy, and needs humility, just as practising Christianity in other ways is also difficult.

To speak out means to speak for God. Hence to remain silent when it could be interpreted as giving approval for wrong-doing is in itself wrong.

Paul tells us in today's second reading that - Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour.

If love faces the real, it cannot avoid facing conflict.

Where silence would permit greater division in a community, love must do something.

As Edmund Burke noted: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Today's Gospel then is very challenging.

So, when expressing our hurt, it is important to be aware of the listener, who may also have issues to be resolved, and needs a compassionate listening ear.

There must be "give and take" in any confrontation.