23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the Scriptures, a watchman guards against possible harm to people or property, often during the night, and may sound an alarm in the face of threatened danger. Ezekiel today is presented to us as the watchman responsible for the Israelite community – being accountable for those who go astray.
In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel today, the disciples are given the task of watchman for the community. Jesus lays out a specific process for his disciples and us on how to resolve conflicts and bring wayward members back into the fold. This is a daunting task, yet he promises that he will be with us wherever two or three are gathered in his name.
Too often, we take this passage to refer to one other person. It becomes even more challenging when we see it as a reference to the community. There are many times when individuals and the community need to be reminded of who we are and what we are to become.
When racism is allowed to exist and even supported by the community, we are called to work to correct the exclusion of others. When the poor, homeless, and immigrants are treated differently or not welcomed at the table, we are challenged to change our attitude and practice. We are urged to seek reconciliation when we seek revenge on others who have hurt us. When we refuse to speak to those who hold different views from our own, we are encouraged to listen and find common ground.
Each time we celebrate the sacred meal of the Eucharist, we are sent forth as watchmen in our communities to help others to know God’s reconciling love. To what person or situation am I being sent today as a reconciling presence?
Let us pray:
Gracious Lord, we give you thanks for the many times we have experienced your reconciling love. You command us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. May your Spirit empower us to bring reconciling love into the divisions we find in our human family, enabling us to become a community of peace and justice. Amen.