By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Wednesday August 14 2019
(Mt. 18:15-20) Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus lines up the process for the welcoming back of a brother or a sister back to the community. This seems un-Jesus like because we know Jesus to forgive unconditionally. However, we can see here an attempt to systematize or provide a structure for reconciliation. In any case, Jesus accepts the fact that there will be sinners and He wanted to assure that everything must be done to bring back the person to the community.
Jesus’ suggestion is simple. First, try to reconcile between yourselves. If that is not possible, invite a third person who is respected by both and let that person mediate. If that still does not result in reconciliation, bring it to the congregation. The last suggested process is a last resort. It is hoped that the sinner finally be humbled in respect to the community.
The invitation for a sinner before the community is not generally practice today. But there maybe close communities who offer this as an option. If the community is open and agrees to it, well and good. But we know that there are those who would not want to be subjected to the last option.
The sacrament of Reconciliation is a good option. It falls, given more latitude, under the second option. The priest acts as the third person. At the same time, the priest represents Christ. When a penitent goes to confession, he accepts his sinfulness. The sacrament of Reconciliation allows him to ask God’s and his neighbor’s forgiveness in the person of the priest. When given the absolution, he is forgiven by God and the community. It is very much encourage that he also approach the one he offended and ask forgiveness. If, after doing this, he is not forgiven, the burden now goes to the offended party.
Jesus knew that we will still commit sins even after He had saved us.
Salvation is a lifetime task. Jesus provides the avenue to reach that. Hopefully, it will not be Jesus only who will forgive. We, too, must be a part of that healing act of God. When we forgive, we do not only bring another person to God, but we also free ourselves of the burden of unforgiveness.