XXIII Sunday in Ordinary time

XXIII Sunday in Ordinary time

Ven, 04 Set 20 Lectio Divina - Anno A

 Ezekiel 33:7-9
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 13:8-10

Gospel, Matthew 18:15-20

The first question in the Bible is “where are you?” Genesis 3:9 and the second is “where is your brother?”. The readings help us with the same questions addressed by God to man. And the response to these queries is indicated, with the key word “love”, the way of love, a love that embraces everyone as that of Jesus.

EZEKIEL 33: 1. 7-9

The first reading is from the prophet Ezekiel, who lives in exile in Babylon, deported with many others. From 597 to 587 BC, the people of Israel lost the land, the king, the temple, it seemed to them that the God of Israel was conquered by the God of Babylon. Ezekiel says that the prophet is like a "sentinel" on guard, who searches and shouts for help in danger. The sentry watches while everyone sleeps and knows that the morning after the long night is coming. He knows that the sun is out and that dawn will break. He is responsible for the fate of the city. Christians are called to be watchmen for the people in the environment in which we live, we are responsible for the fate of our world, but do we think about it? Paying attention to the word of the Lord (as Ezekiel, figuratively, swallows the scroll of the manuscript) and then warns and speaks in the name of God, announcing the dangers and risks. Everyone then remains responsible for their actions. Ezekiel acts as a spokesman between God who speaks and the people of Israel, or the individual, to whom the word of God is communicated. The watchman reprimands the wicked but also comforts the discouraged.

Paul's exhortations in chapter 13 concern the attitude to be assumed towards the civil powers. The apostle reminds the Romans that they must be submissive to the authorities, who partake of God's lordship over all things. He recalls the importance of love, not only towards the brothers of the community but also towards all the others. In this regard it is connected with the Jewish tradition, recalling that charity is the fullness of the Mosaic Law.

Paul focuses on what is essential for a completely human and truly Christian life. Therefore, the synthesis of everything is the commandment of love of neighbour. Yes, "full fulfilment of all the law", the one promulgated by Moses on Sinai and the one delivered by Jesus in the Gospel, the precept that commits us not to harm anyone, rather to want the good of the other, to any ethnicity, nation, language he belongs. It might surprise us at first that Paul identifies the synthesis of everything in the love of neighbour and not in the love of God. Paul assumes that the Christian is well convinced of "God is love", "He first loved us", "Whoever loves is of God and knows God".  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 Jn. 4…).

 MATTHEW 18: 15-20

Chapter 18 of Matthew makes it clear that the way of love is not a way of triumph and power. On this the disciples and we too find ourselves displaced; we would always like to emerge, be important, have power. This is not the way of love. Jesus affirms that those, who in society are ignored and considered the most distant from God, are in reality his closest friends, the closest: whoever ignores the poor, ignores God. Jesus speaks of fraternal correction, He does not mean to us that if we see someone who behaves in a way that bothers us, who comes out of the rules, we must correct him, force him to get back on our tracks, with a lot of presumption. For God the important thing is the joy of love, it is to come to meet us when we feel sinners, to give us the ability to find our place in the assembly.

The Master indicates how to allow the Father to reach the other: if the sympathy of only one is not enough, he should take with him two or three others, who know better than him to transmit the tenderness of mercy, and if they still cannot, consider him as "a pagan and a tax collector". But pay attention to the meaning: the pagan is one who does not know God, but only because no one has revealed it to him and in the Gospel Jesus says: "The tax collectors and prostitutes precede you into the Kingdom of Heaven", here they precede those who think themselves right and want to correct others. What does Jesus mean? How is the correction to take place? It is necessary to become friends with the one who has a defect and help him to discover the wound that caused. It means looking at him as one who has suffered and who tries to survive badly through this wrong attitude. People are needed who are able to share friendship with him and offer him a compassionate and respectful look, in order to dissolve his fear of condemnation and allow him to open up to God's tenderness.

All, sooner or later, we are the pagan or the just, the tax collector or the disciple. If we make judgments, we prevent us from believing in the Father's mercy, while if we untie him, we forgive him, since we too are forgiven, we lead the other to the Father.

Let's ask ourselves again what love is, because it is a very difficult knot to understand. Love is taking responsibility for the other person; love him in his entirety, take him and offer himself to him in everyday life, seek happiness together. Therefore, to love with the heart and with the head. Make your affection concrete. To do this, we need to feel loved by God and imitate him in his gesture because he has filled our hearts. First it is necessary to find the balance in the love towards me, it is necessary to accept my frailties without shame, to put them in the hands of God with abandonment as children.

Faith is loving a person; the Lord Jesus and this love leads me to a change of life. It is then necessary to take to heart the fate of the brothers without hiding behind a respect that does not challenge us and leaves the brother in his own restlessness. May be forgiveness, humanly speaking, is the most difficult thing. So, Jesus, who knows this, says to unite and to form a community, even a small one, even two or three united in his name. The presence of Jesus is not to be sought, but to be welcomed, it is already there to continue, with him and like him, to communicate love and life to all humanity. The mandate is to manifest God's presence to all humanity, assuring them that they will not be alone, but that he will collaborate with them forever, so that no one gets lost.

In conclusion, to correct the other, we too need to feel sinners, forgiven by God, to approach others, together with Jesus, and with discretion, humility and delicacy to give them my voice, so that he, Jesus, can say what is good for the brother who is wrong. Otherwise our judgments are always spiteful and we talk about it with satisfaction, because we feel good. Charity does no harm to one's neighbour: for the fullness of the Law is charity.

Prayer

Lord, thank you because I understand that being a Christian means converting myself to love every day.  Give me courage, perseverance and a joyful heart as I live your commandment not as an impossible burden, but as a song, a song to Love, to live it concretely.

"Love does not measure, it just gives. All of us cannot do great things but we all can do small things with great love. It’s not about how much you do but how much love you put into what you do that counts". St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta