Homily for the twenty-third Sunday of the year - Year A - Mt. 18:15-20
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Jesus said to his disciples, «If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.»
 
" «Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Jesus said to his disciples, «If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.» "
 
In the first pages of his gospel, Saint Matthew records these words of the Lord: "You are the salt of the earth." (Mt. 5:13) This means that each of us must offer a good example, each of us must spread the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 2:15)!
 
If we live in a community, gathering together each Sunday, at least, it is to benefit from the good examples our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ give us; it is also to bring to others all that the Lord has deigned to place in us! Even our mere presence, a contemplative presence during the celebration of the Eucharist, for example, is already a good word, a word of encouragement for all our brothers! If we like to pray, let us not stay at home on Sunday: let us go to church to speak to our brothers, through our simple presence!
 
" «But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.» "
 
There are times when we are not called to merely give a good example. We are sometimes constituted as the judges of our brethren. Here, we must be prudent and seek out good advice. Often, in such cases, we would have recourse to the Church and to her institution: the Church has tribunals and an entire judicial system, just like civil society...
 
Tribunals, judges, etc... We seem to be quite far from religion... But not really. In fact, since the time of the Incarnation of the Word, we have all entered into the fullness of time: "When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman." (Gal. 4:4) This means that Christianity inaugurates the fullness of time: Christianity gives testimony to the entire world that the fullness of God has entered into time, and that, consequently, the time in which we live is a time that touches eternity, a time that touches its end!
 
If time touches its end, then the judgment of God is at hand. And so all that relates to judgment concerns us to the highest degree. "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." If time touches its end, then Christ is already here, at least in a certain way...
 
" «Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.» "
 
Certainly, Jesus is already here! He has already returned to us through the Holy Spirit! He returns to us each time we celebrate the Eucharist! But, contrary to the time of the Judgment of God, we do not yet see Christ: he is there; but either he is present spiritually, and so we don't see him; or he is present under the appearance of the bread and wine, and so we don't see him as he is, now, in Heaven...
 
But it is precisely because we do not see Christ, who is present, that we have been given this grace of mercy: the grace of being able to pray together, with Christ! "If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven."
 
Today is the time of mercy! A mercy that is abundant, beyond measure, for it is as great as the Heart of Christ! Let us ask Mary to pray with us and for us, in order that the Mercy of God might spread ever further in the Church and throughout the entire world!
 

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