Weekly Missionary Reflection
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 6 September 2020
NATIONAL BIBLE SUNDAY
Eze. 33:7-9; Ps. 95:1-2,6-7,8-9; Rm. 13:8-10; Mat. 18:15-20
Matthew 18 consists of Jesus’ sermons about the life of church. Church is built on faith in suffering, died and risen Jesus. The consequence is: Jesus’ followers must take lowly position like little children (v. 18: 1-4), attempt to keep fellow christian from being stumbled (vv. 5-9). If someone gets lost, try to get him back (v. 10-22) and forgive him (vv. 21-35). Brotherhood church is a fruit of humbling and blood shedding Christ. The faith in crucified Christ results in a church which is humble, cares, serves and encourages each other.
Such fruit of faith is reflected in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus talked about attempting to get back a lost/sinned “brother”. The point is: every member of the church is responsible for other members, and must attempt to get him back if he goes astray. Therefore, those who do not stray must initiate this effort. The aim is not to rebuke nor corner him, but to try to “get your brother back” (v. 15). This objective should be the focus, in order not to make the taken action a juridical one (legal action), but rather a personal and prudent advise. The first step is to”admonish him”. This is not criticizing or judging, but personal approach and to open his eyes that he is objectively wrong. This personal approach is the priority. Every member of the church should attempt to be the first to approach and advise the wrong fellow members.
If the first step does not succeed in convincing that person, then invite two or three “witnesses” from the church member. The invited members should also witness and know this person’s sin. This is according to the Law (Deut. 19:15), but the focus is still: to make that person be more convinced that he has indeed made a mistake. So, it is not to make him more cornered, but to make “the case undoubted”, that it is objectively true (v. 16). If this second step still unsucceeds, then bring the case to the church. It is his case, not the person, that has to be presented before the church. Personal and prudent approach is still taken.
Our sinful brother needs to be found and convinced of his sin. Nevertheless, he does not need to be forced. If he confesses his sin, the church can claim that his sin is forgiven (“released”). On the other hand, if he still refuses to confess his sin, the church can declare that his sin remains and is attached to him (“bound”). Any member of the church can consider him as ” the lost and stray” like a tax collector, who still needs to be searched, as in the example of Jesus, the Son of Man who came to save the lost (18:11).
The attempt to get back the lost brother also requires a prayer. For the prayer of two and three gathered in Jesus’s name, will definitely be answered by the Father (vv. 19-20), also to get their lost brother back. Approaching the lost brother with heart and prayer will win the lost soul, not by gossiping and spreading hoax.
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
Respecting natural resources: May all natural resources of the earth be not greedily drained and stolen, but be fairly shared with gratitude and appreciation to the nature. We pray …
For Indonesian Churches intention:
Creating clean air: In participating in creating the clean air, may Catholic families initiate to make simple contribution by greening each surrounding. We pray …
We present our willpower to voice our effort of justice to The Word Himself. We pray…