Readings: 1st: Ez 9:1-7; 10:18-22; Ps 112; Gos: Mt 18:15-20
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today is the Wednesday of the nineteenth week of ordinary time. In today’s gospel, Christ teaches us the principles of conflict resolution and reconciliation through dialogue and mutual love.
No matter how we try, like death, conflict is inevitable in life. It appears in our families, marriages, offices, relationships, and even in our religious communities. Indeed, they come in different forms that we do not expect.
At times, some of us think that the best way to approach them is, either to run away from them, or pretend they do not exist. However, to our dismay they always reappear or resurface.
Christ was aware of the inevitability of conflicts generated by offences, sins, injuries and disagreements. He saw it among his disciples, he saw it in his community, and he knew they will continue to exist.
At the center of Christ’s’ principle today is, dialogue. That is, the ability to sit down and talk, listen to the other, see things from the perspective of others, and be sincerely ready to resolve issues.
So, in today’s gospel, Christ gives us a three-dimensional principle of reconciliation. First, we have to sit down and dialogue. Seek the mediation of a good friend, and finally, seek the mediation of our community.
Paul asked: “If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people?” (1 Cor 6:1).
As Christians, how do we resolve our problems today? How do we handle or resolve them amicably? Take “a pound of flesh” from the other, or go straight to the court of law? We must take note of the three basic steps that Christ gives us today.
Unfortunately, we neglect all these basic steps and go straight to: “Treat him like a tax collector.” Christ teach us that before this, we must make frantic efforts to reconcile through dialogue.
Dialogue promotes mutual respect for the other, it saves us a lot of energy, time and the cost of law suits. It fosters mutual love and restores relationships.
Peace be with you.