September 6, 2020 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.”
Ezekiel 33: 7-9
By Sister Maureen Niedermeyer, OSB
These passages center on our responsibility for each other and the expectations of mutual correction. I find it difficult to speak to another about behavior or ways that are not consistent with the values of the community. It is easier for me to just ignore the issue, but I can be called to warn and admonish even when I would rather not do this. The question is: how can I compassionately speak to another about a needed change? Can I see Christ in that person’s eyes? Can that person see Christ in me as we discuss what we see happening? I need to be transparent and humble in such relationships.
St. Paul to the Romans reminds us that we are always to approach another with the power of love, for our gracious God dwells in the midst of our lives, work and worship. If I correct another, I must be open to receive correction in return. An open heart to hear the voice of God in another may be difficult but necessary for spiritual growth. So much depends on the love that accompanies our speech.
The gospel speaks of how difficult reconciliation can be. When our relationships are strained, can we remember that Jesus promised to be with us? He is there uniting and healing us. “I am there in your midst,” He promised.
The psalm refrain is a call to hear and respond to the voice of God in joy because “we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.” We are so precious to Him!
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“How is it that you can see the splinter in another’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?” RB 2:15
“God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:19
Photo Credit: Father Robert Elias Barcelos, OCD