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Engaging the Word: September 7, 2014

Have you ever been trying to tell someone something and they just were not paying attention?

Maybe the person you were trying to reach physically could not hear you, or maybe he or she could hear but was choosing not to listen.

The readings this week admonish us to counsel those who have gone astray.  We really are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.  If a fellow human being is on the wrong path, we have an obligation to help him or her get back on track.

Now, this is not permission to be a busybody or to impose on others our own will on their behavior.  It is an instruction, however, to love and to help those who are not behaving in loving ways to start responding in gratitude to God’s gift of life.

How can one tell whether or not to speak up?  First, one needs to think about why the other person’s actions are agitating.  Is it just a matter of differences in personal taste, or is the person really missing out on life?  It is important, too, to remember that we are in this life together and that we do not have to figure things out alone.  It is important to keep in mind as well that if discussing the issue with others offers no hope of doing any real good that one needs to keep his or her mouth shut.  If love is not the motivation and there is no realistic possibility that discussing the matter will help, then plain and simple it is gossip and that is a sin, but it is also a sin if one can help and chooses to do nothing.

Maybe it would be helpful to recall the way in which our  Creator who has loved us into existence reaches out to us when we fail to respond in love, always calling out to us but never restricting our freedom.

1st Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-9 ~ Responsorial: Psalm: 95:1-2,6-9

2nd Reading: Romans 13:8-10~ Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20


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