Reflection for 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Today’s gospel may remind us of Cain’s response to God in Genesis 4:9: Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Jesus provides us with a “yes” answer to that question in today’s gospel. Furthermore, our first reading from Ezekiel (33:8) says: “If you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, I will hold you responsible for his death.” And, the famous quote from Sir Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Most of us would perhaps say: “Let’s not mind someone else’s business.” But, as a Christian, I can not keep silent. I can not ignore or turn the other way from a brother or sister who is on the “wrong path.”
Perhaps you are thinking that isn’t it enough that I deal with my own fight against sin, a never- ending struggle between the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the lure of my passions, the devil or the world? Now I hear both from the prophet Ezekiel and Jesus say that I have a responsibility to try to turn my brother or sister from his/her sinful way. This is certainly contrary to the “way of the world”.
In a worldly perspective, we would respond in a vindictive way to the person who has sinned, especially if the sin is against us or a least have nothing to do with the person. But all of today’s readings tell us otherwise. We are to love as Jesus Christ loves!
Why should we get involved in someone else’s problems/sins?…because we are members of the Body of Christ and responsible to take action. Recall St. Paul’s analogy of the body…when one member suffers, all the members or the whole community suffers – sin affects the whole Body of Christ, not just the person committing the sin!
While we can’t dissuade every sinner, we can address those who are put in our life’s path. Remember that it is the command of the Lord Jesus Christ!
May God bless us all always!