6TH SEPTEMBER, 2020
†23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ezk 33:7-9/Ps 95:1-2, 6-7,abc, 7d-9/Rom 13:8-10/Mat 18:15-20
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)
One saying among the Akans of Ghana goes that, “the lizard does not eat pepper for the frog to sweat.” In other words, people suffer the consequences of the sins they have committed and not for others.
But today’s 1st Reading seems to overturn this saying even though that is not the case. God tells prophet Ezekiel that sin can have communal effect so people must not think about themselves alone, but be the keeper of their brethren so as to help others to walk in right path.
No wonder another Akan saying goes that, “if an elder sits unconcerned for children to eat snake, he is also counted among snake eaters. Each one is called to be responsible, at least in parts, for what happens to others. Jesus gives us the direction for fraternal correction in charity.
For Jesus, the process of forgiveness must be initiated by the person offended; to go to the offender. It must begin with face to face talk, and upon failing to resolve, seek the assistance of one or two warm-hearted people. Should the second attempt fail, involve community of believers, and even if the last recourse fails, treat that person as a Gentile, an outcast or tax collector. What does it mean to do this? Jesus tells us to love the offender until we have won him/her back to the right track, for He came as a friend of Gentiles and tax collectors (Mat 11:19).
To forgive is divine. Therefore, we should not tire in fraternal correction in spite of the challenges associated with it. Note that fraternal correction does not absolve us from the responsibility of correcting with conviction and courage.
The prophet of God (Christian) should not condone or connive with evil or sin. The world faces evils such as: adultery, bribery and corruption, racism or ethnocentricism, hatred, injustices and discrimination, etc.Christians must stand firm and talk against.
However, the driving forces for correction must be compassion, concern for the neighbour showed in charity or love as St Paul tells us in the 2nd Reading.
~•That the Lord may grant us forgiving hearts
~•That we may build communities rooted in prayer, strong in faith and active in charity
~•For grace among our leaders not to take advantage on people’s situation, especially in this period of covid 19 pandemic
Lord hear us