All Saints Messenger - September 7, 2017

posted Sep 14, 2017, 9:57 AM by Church Secretary

Greetings in the name of  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 

My stomach gets knots while reading this text. As a priest in the church we often receive disapproving communication from the church family. It is painful...sometimes people leave the church over what I say. However, if I am honest I am not blameless as well. In the past, as a parishioner, I know I also have communicated criticisms that disappointed maybe even hurt others. Often times we are able to recall our own pain, but are unaware of the pain we cause.

Isolating this Sunday's passages (Matthew 18:15-20) painful reproving and excommunicating instructions from this chapter's wider context risks missing Jesus' overall loving message. In previous verses, Jesus says the "greatest" have child-like humility, warns against being stumbling blocks or sinning, and tells the Lost Sheep parable about God's unrelenting efforts to reunite each sheep with the flock. In the verses following today's reading, Jesus says to forgive limitlessly and he shares the Unforgiving Servant parable that teaches how God forgives us infinitely more than we forgive our neighbors. Sunday's reading instructs us to communicate our concerns--but for the purpose of loving reconciliation. If reconciliation fails, God keeps calling--just as Jesus lovingly remained in community with Gentiles and tax collectors.

Forgiving God, we praise and thank you for continuously calling us to return to you each time we stray. Please be merciful with us when we are too quick to reprove and too slow to forgive. Guide our communication so that we lovingly reconcile with our neighbors. Amen

See ya Sunday!

Fr. Gary+