Today’s Thoughts: Sorry for my late posting today but it was a very late night and a very early morning. You might say my brain is in zombie mode today… Question: Do zombies have brains? Answer: I am not sure. I am the only zombie that I know and I pretty much don’t have a brain all the time! So those of you waiting for answers might just be out of luck today…
On to the important things of life my thoughts…
Today’s word for our Sunday readings might be forgiveness or reconciliation or compassion or even responsibility. After all God laid a pretty good guilt trip on Ezekiel today in the first reading. However, my word for the day is family, gathering, assembly or community or church. Take your pick.
How so you might ask? Well, I think what Jesus, what the Prophet Ezekiel, and what St. Paul are getting at today is that we cannot make this faith journey alone. The assembly, the community, the church is very necessary, profoundly important.
In the first reading, yes, God seems to muster up some pretty good guilt. It is the leader of the assembly who first and foremost needs to be faithful. If he or she is not the consequences not only rest with the community but all with the leader. If Ezekiel the prophet, the leader, does not get the Word out. If the assembly doesn’t repent, live faithfully then it is on him. However, if Ezekiel is faith and the assembly is not faithful it is on them.
St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans reminds us what being a family, an assembly, a community, a church is all about the commandment of Love. Love of God, love of neighbor trumps, (sorry), surpasses all other commandments. Love of neighbor is profoundly important and is necessary for the life of a family, an assembly, a community, a church.
And this is where Jesus comes in. Living within a family, an assembly, a community of faith, a church isn’t easy. Let’s face it, where two or three are gathered, yes Jesus is present but so are disagreements, differing opinions, conflicts, hurts and judgmentalness. Jesus today lays out a roadmap for how to live with others. He presents to us various levels of interaction or you might say, various levels of intervention to solve the differing opinion, conflicts, arguments that arise within any family, assembly and community of faith. The challenge is always making this roadmap work – not easy!
For me on of the interesting lines in the Gospel is – “If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentle or tax collector. One scripture scholar I read this week said that he thinks Matthew had a smile on his face when he wrote this line because how did Jesus teach us to deal with Gentles and tax collectors? With compassion, mercy, forgiveness and love!
My friends as a family, an assembly, a community of faith, as a church we cannot get away from it. The primary virtue by which we need to live is love! As St. Paul says elsewhere in his writings “love is the greatest.” To not love, to not forgive, to not have mercy places the onus on us just like it did for Ezekiel. We are the prophets of our day. It is difficult and sometimes downright impossible yet repeatedly we are called to love and forgive. Jesus give us ways, steps but it isn’t easy!
“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. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” Remember when we gather together as family, as assembly, as community, as church to pray we are asked to pray “forgive us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us! Perhaps that is why our prayers don’t often seem answered because it always comes down to love and forgiveness!
Have a great rest of your Sunday afternoon and evening everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...