Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

September 7, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Ezekiel 33:7-9
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 13:8-10
Matthew 18:15-20

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Older brothers have it hard! When my older brother wanted to go off with his friends, my mother would often call out, "Take your little brother with you." In a resigned tone of voice, my brother would say to me just two words, "Come on." And more than once, when I would loiter with my friends on the way home from school, he would hurry me along before I got in trouble. Older brothers are expected to look after younger brothers.

Ezekiel was God's trumpet, a prophet who was expected to look after his brothers and sisters in a foreign land. In fact, God told him the consequences of not blowing the trumpet to warn them—the Prophet would be charged with the same crime as those he was supposed to warn!

And Jesus, in today's Gospel, gives the rules for his followers to confront their brothers and sisters who have sinned. First, go privately to speak to your brother. If that doesn't work, bring a friend or two along. If that fails, bring him to "the church," that is, to the whole assembly (our bishops know only too well how they have been criticized for not doing this early enough and firmly enough). Only then is our obligation to look after our brother and sister ended.

If moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, could only take seriously this "looking after one another," and sometimes blow the trumpet on their sins and failures, how much stronger would be the moral fiber of our society. Sometimes it may be a legislator who needs to vote for justice to the poor and defenseless, sometimes it's a niece or nephew who is about to make a bad decision on a relationship. It may be a call to pray and support someone who is on the edge of despair. The "watchman" idea is not to sit in judgment, but to act out of genuine concern for their eternal happiness and salvation. St. Paul tells us the same thing in today's second reading. "Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another . . . ." God never told us it would be easy!

Often we hesitate to act for fear of losing a friendship or breaking a relationship. Maybe the warning or the advice will be resented at the time. But, deep down, the person usually knows that we are right in our warning, and hopefully, will eventually thank us for caring.

We all have reason to be grateful for older brothers and sisters, as well as other friends and family, who have helped us along the way.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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