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News & Resources

Gospel Reflection: September 10, 2023 – Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 10, 2023

Matthew 18:15-20

When I read this Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew, my first thought was of something my mother used to say to us: “If you’re gonna fight, fight nice.”  More often than not, we would scrunch up our noses, trying to figure out exactly what that meant, pausing at that same time in what may have been a less-than-nice interaction – my mother’s purpose accomplished.

In her own way, Mom was teaching us a very important life lesson: how to constructively handle confrontation. We see in our society today, and even the Church, so many people who simply do not know how to handle confrontation and disagreement constructively. Quite simply, we don’t know how to live together, fight together, forgive, and stay together. And this is because all of us — not just our brother or sister — are sinners. 

Jesus offers a simple guide to handle our sin and its consequences in this lesson in Matthew’s Gospel. It is a step-by-step movement from individual to communal process, leading to reconciliation. Matthew also helps us to see that it isn’t always going to be easy or quick. Sometimes, the person or persons with whom we are in conflict don’t see it the same way or even want to make peace. But that shouldn’t stop us from trying because any broken relationship is bigger than just me and the other person; it impacts the entire community and our relationship with God. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is an essential component of community. Jesus assures us that he is present, and real for us, when we are gathered in his name — both in agreement and in sin. That truly is GOOD NEWS.

Sister Danielle Jacob, CSFN

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