Sep 23, 2017
Sep 16, 2017
Peter has a sense only of the thriving sinfulness of the world; hence, it is important for him to know how far forgiveness can be offered. Jesus knows not just the sinful side of reality, he is aware, more importantly, of the liberating grace that abounds even more. Only with mercy and forgiveness can this broken world be saved. God is making sure we have unlimited source of this grace. Sin, however it thrives and flourishes, however it comes back again and again and again, will have to be conquered by mercy and acts of forgiveness. God’s unconditional mercy always has the last say!
Chronic sinners as we are, we can only submit in gratitude and humility to God as we chant David’s psalm as our own:
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the East is from the West,
So far has he removed our transgressions from us (Ps 103: 10-12).
Sep 9, 2017
In such a communitarian context, each is endowed with a prophetic vocation to remind, to warn, to reprimand a member whenever he or she turns away from the spirit of the covenant and the values of God’s Kingdom. The prophet Ezekiel, in the first reading (Ez. 33:7-9), is given this responsibility to “dissuade the wicked man from his way.” Failure to act on this responsibility holds the prophet liable to the evil that befalls the man in question. “If... you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death” (v. 8). This reminds all of us of our social responsibility to take care of one another by reprimanding or gently reminding each one whenever we are in error or in sin.
In the community of God’s Kingdom, it is not very responsible to say “Walang pakialaman pare!” nor it is with love and concern that we say “Bahala siya sa buhay niya.” As children of God, we are always our brother’s keeper. We should constantly act out of love by reaching out to a community member who has gone wayward.
The gospel today (Mt. 18:15-20) prescribes some helpful steps to a genuine process of fraternal correction. Again, in each step, the objective is to win your brother over (v. 15). This is real concern and love. And how lovely it is to live in such a community!
The first step is person to person confrontation. Confrontation is not a very good word. I think a better expression is heart-to-heart talk! I am convinced that if this is done with love and care there’s no need for another step. Most will end up shaking hands or even embracing each other with a resolve to become better friends, better lovers.