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Correcting our brother and ourselves

Here’s some follow up. A few days ago I wrote about David’s dilemma. His pastor seemed to be taking the parish farther and farther from orthodoxy. David was wrestling with leaving the parish or staying put and trying to work with the pastor. While the comment box gave no easy answers, there did seem to be a consensus that David speak with his pastor before leaving. Today David gives us some happy follow up. His pastor is far more amenable to addressing David’s concerns than anyone expected. What an important lesson. Never take away the opportunity to reconcile.

Today’s Gospel(Mt 18: 15-20) offers similar advice:

15 "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."


Jesus tells us we do not write off our brother until we have made every effort to bring him into harmony with the Church. Two of the Spiritual Works of Mercy are to instruct the ignorant and to admonish the sinner. We do not have the option to stand idly by while our brother languishes in ignorance or willful disobedience. We have an obligation to actively intervene with both prayer and loving correction.

At the end of the each decade of the Rosary, we often pray the Fatima prayer:

O My Jesus, Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.


At some point each of us will be one of those souls most in need of His mercy. When our brother is that soul, we have an obligation to allow him to see Christ in us and help him find the way to Heaven.

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