Gospel Reflection – 23rd Week in Ordinary Time – Cycle A – Matthew   18:15-20

Fraternal correction is a difficult business. Ask any member of a monastic community, and they will tell you! Living in close proximity to each other, and developing a Christly fraternity can feel like opposing mechanisms, because it is those around us who tell us who we truly are, not so much ourselves. But truly they are one and the same. We meet God through the gift of others, and, through their interaction with us, we are invited to meet God.
Not everyone we meet is agreeable to us. And it is often these people who test us the most. They test us, yes, because of their indiscretions, their loudness, their lack of understanding, their unpleasantness. Perhaps their deviousness, even. But these people, these trials that are brought to our door, are a mirror that we put up to our own faces. They tell us who we are, we the responders to these circumstances. They may bring the worst out in us. Perhaps the best, too. Who knows. But in these encounters is the opportunity to come to God, an invitation from God passed through the complex prism of human messiness. How shall we respond to those who do wrong? Let us pick up the Holy book and find our answers in the deeds and teachings of our Lord Jesus. 
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew   18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, is between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.
If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you:
the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.
I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.
I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.