9/10/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
15 “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.”
9/10/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 18:15-20
Before Jesus was born, He was already given the title “Emmanuel” – God is with us (Matthew 1:23) and before He ascended into heaven, He promised to be with His people until the end of time (Matthew 28:20). Thus, we are always assured of His constant presence. In the gospel reading above, Jesus gives the assurance that He is present in the midst of even two or three who are gathered in His name.
Two or three people is in fact a crowd. It already constitutes a community and if these people gather in Jesus’ name, they make up the church – the Body of Christ. This fact should encourage small communities that Jesus is present in them and it doesn’t really matter how many of them. As long they gather in the name of Jesus, it is enough. We don’t need a huge crowd in order to claim the presence of Jesus.
The gospel reading above indicates that Jesus knew beforehand that the church and any community for that matter is never perfect. There will be some members who can be considered as “black sheep”. Even in the community of twelve which He formed, there was the one who betrayed Him. We cannot therefore be surprised if a particular member of our community commits an error. Everyone in fact commits mistakes now and then. Jesus is telling us how to deal with erring members. First, talk to them in private. If it doesn’t work, the community decides and Jesus Himself will be the supreme guide.
Correcting the mistakes of one another means helping one another to grow in faith, hope and love. It is an indication of our responsibility for each other. It is in fact one of the core responsibilities of every community to make sure that each brother and each sister live in harmony with one another. It would be a shame if non-members learn how much infighting there is in our community. We must always remember that our community or our church is a manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth.
Indeed, there is indeed power in the name of the Jesus. In the reading above, Jesus tells us that we must gather in His name. In John 14:13-15, he promised that whatever we ask in His name, He will grant us. Also, Saint Paul tells us in Philippians 2:9-11 that God has bestowed on Jesus the name above all names and that the mere mention of His name, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess of lordship. That is why we pray, we gather, we worship in the name of Jesus.