OMELIE / Omelie EN
10 set 2023 10/09/2023 - 23rd Sunday in O. T. – year A
10/09/2023 - 23rd Sunday in O. T. – year A
Reading 1 EZ 33,7-9 Psalm 94 Reading 2 RM 13,8-10 Gospel MT 18,15-20
Let us begin with listening to Saint Paul. He has not met Jesus in person, but he has received His Spirit, so his teachings are perfectly aligned to those Jesus Himself has given His disciples in various occasions. The apostle is talking about the mutual love which has to exist among Christians. This love is a debt we can never repay, a debt we have with God. He has loved us so much that we, even with the maximum amount of love we might give to people around us, will never be able to match that.
To love the neighbour, meaning any needing people, “fulfilled the law”: God had given each of His commandments to live the different sides of the love. Not to commit adultery is one side of the true love, a faithful love, and just as well not to kill and not to steal are commandments given us to help us respect and value life, gift from God, and not to desire is not the commandment which hinders joy, but is helping us avoid a plethora of sufferings for ourselves and others. Even in Saint Paul’s time men and women thought that loving meant satisfying their own feelings and delusions. But the apostle says that “Love does no evil to the neighbor”: we can tell this to those spouses who abandon partner and children because they start to “love” another person. These people really hurt the neighbour, and they call it «love».
It is really necessary to say it: the prophet Ezekiel is compelling: “If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die”, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death”. It is a great work of love to save a brother from a mistake which would bring him to destroy his interior life and to seriously damage his fellows and the whole community.
Jesus then is teaching us «how» to tell the brother that what he is doing is evil, because it is a source of pain and suffering. He teaches us to be sensitive and gentle.
If we tell something to someone to help him amend his ways and realise what he is doing, we will do so gently, but firmly.
If we cannot manage to convince him by ourselves, we can seek the help of people more skilled than us. If those who are doing evil want to persevere doing so, the whole community will need to come together to help them, to the point of excluding them if they do not repent, so they can appreciate the severity of their situation, and so they will not be able to involve others in doing evil too.
The decisions of the Christian community are important, because God Himself thinks they are important and cannot be overlooked: He Himself approves them and shares them. He has given His Spirit to the Church to guide her on His path.
Why this attention of God’s for the community of Jesus’s disciples?
He Himself is present where two or three are gathered together in my name. God listens to Jesus, so He listens to and rewards those who are united in the name of Jesus. What does it mean, to be united “in the name” of Jesus? Certainly this means not to have any other interest but His: Jesus wants to glorify the Father, to be the Savior of all men, make us His cooperators to free the world from the influence of the devil and give it the light and peace that can come only from Him, risen from the dead. Thanks to Him, among men will only be established the true, faithful, humble and generous love!