We all as Christians know the familiar verse from Scripture, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18.20 Often this is spoken when gathering for meetings or prayer services within our parish communities. Did you know that this teaching from Jesus was about how to reconcile with someone who has sinned against you? Often, recalling how another person sinned against you prompts unpleasant memories even if you have been able to reconcile. The memories might stem from the fact that you were caught off guard by a sinful act against you personally. Jesus is fully aware of the human condition of his people offending one another and he offers instruction in resolving such offenses.
First – go to the person who has offended you to discuss the matter.
Second – If the offender refuses to listen, take two or three as your witness and try again.
Third – If that too, fails, take it to the church, meaning the community.
Finally – If that does not move the person to reconciliation, “treat them as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” Matthew 18.17
It seems Jesus might be telling us that some cases are just a lost cause. But not so. Jesus open our minds to the possibility
that not all people know him and what he teaches, for instance, the Gentiles or the tax collectors who have yet to change their ways. But those are exactly the people
Jesus came into this world to save: the sinners. If we have come to understand the ways and teaching of Jesus, it becomes our responsibility to pray for and do all we can to welcome those who have not had the opportunity to know him. In this way, Jesus is inviting us, calling us as his disciples to evangelization, welcoming new members into our communities. So, the next time we hear “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst”, let us remember our call to always welcome others and in the process, come to understand that there may be times we are “sinned against”, but even that experience can open the door to us and those we invite to draw closer to Jesus Christ. In peace,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC