Scripture Reflection, September 10, 2023, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 33:7-9 Romans 13:8-10 Matthew 18:15-20
All three of today's scriptures concern themselves with how we deal with one another.
In the first reading we hear God impressing upon the prophet Ezekiel the importance of his responsibility to speak God's word of correction to the people when they have gone astray.
The gospel from Matthew details a process of reconciliation between members of the community.
In the second reading from his letter to the Romans, Paul pulls it all together with the commandment , "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
I think these scriptures would all agree with another insight: That people do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care. That is especially true in those sticky situations between people like those in today's scriptures.
When, like Ezekiel, one needs to correct the behavior of another, it is love that greases the wheels. It is love that makes the words, "This is for your own good,” real and not just self-serving. It is love that stands behind those commandments listed by Paul, against behaviors that hurt another. It is love that fuels the multilayered process of reconciliation in the gospel.
In situations of confrontation it is often hard to lay down our ego at the door and allow our interaction with another to be motivated by love. And yet that is what Gd calls us to do. And, if we are to be honest with ourselves, our own experience validates that wisdom. How much more amenable we are to correction when we do not feel attacked.
God models this behavior for us. When we err, the true voice of the Spirit of God says to us, “You made a mistake”, never “You are a mistake”. And God’s
compassion for "the waywardness that is ours,” as the liturgy says, gives us the space and the will to change.
How can we not do that for each other?
by: Pat Schnee