Because of the Love of God, we are Communal. We depend on each other for support, for help, for strength. This is obvious as we respond to each other’s natural needs and crises. We also need other for our spiritual lives. The passage of Matthew 18: 15 – 20 ” If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone…….For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the middle of them. ” used today for teaching, talks about ” how to deal with a neighbor who has wronged us “, but we can also look at this from the other site where we are the one wronging someone else. It works both ways. The challenge is how to bring about reconciliation with a deep awareness of the TRUTH of the situation.
However, the New law that is highlighted here, teaches fraternal correction within the Christian family ( Community ), and our attitude towards those who exclude themselves for the community. The Apostle Matthew wants to shed light on the journey of the Christian so that the community may be an ” alternative space ” of solidarity and fraternity. It must be Good News for the poor or afflicted. Therefore, as a member of ” faith community “, we are accountable to each other. If we claim we are Christian, we have a responsibility to all other Christians to behave on a Christian way.
Jesus does not wish to add to the exclusion. Rather, he wishes to promote inclusion. The community must behave like a father in the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Book of Luke 15: 11 – 32. It must hold the brother or sister in its heart and pray for him/her so that he/she may change his/her mind and come back to the community. So our first challenge today is to accept that we are broken and need correction – Romans 3: 23 ” For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ” Only within that context, can we see God’s love. Then in God’s love we might be able to speak the truth to our own culture ( live and let live ), and to others in our lives – John 8: 32 ” You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. “