Sunday, September 7, 2008

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Romans 13: 8-10
Love is the pinnacle of all things and the essence of Truth, not law. Law exists to support the love of God, not the other way around. If we love truly, we fulfill all that God wants of us. To love truly, we must love as God does, with hope and mercy. God sees beyond our masks and scars to who we truly are. That is the love we must aspire to.

Matthew 18: 15-20
"If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." This is sometimes used as justification for excluding from the Church those whose beliefs and opinions stray outside the lines. But how did Jesus treat the Gentile or the tax collector? Did he not treat them with love and mercy, and even break bread with them? And who is "the church": the people of God or only its leaders? What should we make of our leaders when they ignore the Spirit's presence within the faithful? Are they not refusing to listen to the church? Which brother is the sinner and which the victim? Perhaps the point is to treat all with love and mercy, most especially the sinner. When Jesus speaks once again of binding and loosing, why should we not see it as a call to judge and love as God does, not as we might do. For if Jesus is truly present wherever two or three are gathered in his name, then he is present even when we gather with those Catholics with whom we disagree.