Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel reading for this week is sometimes called the Dissertation on the Church [1]. It is quite realistic. It talks about the way we deal with people who are destroying themselves and us with sin. If your brother sins against you, go to him and tell him. If that doesn’t work, go again with friends to support you. If that doesn’t work, ask the whole Church for help with him, and so forth.

Every one of us knows numerous times that others have encouraged us to change our ways. And that is a great thing. The care of others protects us from our worst enemy, ourselves. We are better people because we sense the deep responsibility we have towards each other. Husbands and wives are better people because they have and treasure each other and change themselves out of love. You parents don’t let bad things into your homes because you are raising God’s children. You Teens keep the garbage out of your lives because you are in love with Love, with God, and are looking forward to the future He is preparing for you. And all of us in ministry continually change our behavior for the sake of those to whom we minister, and, even more important, as well as the Ultimate One we serve.

The Gospel also tells us that Jesus is with us even if just two or three of us gather in his name. The presence of Our Lord when we pray together is very real. It is authentic. He is present in Word. He is present in Sacrament, and He is present in us. Sometimes that presence is so real that we can feel Him in each other. At other times, we might feel nothing; but we still know that He is here, among us.

Few days ago I was talking with one of the founders family of the parish, and they told how was constructed our parish; then I imagine that the architect who designed our Church conceives a very heavy roof. He designed the beams to hold that roof. Can you imagine how much weight those beams hold? Now here’s the thing: the beams are made of small pieces of wood. The small pieces of wood are laminated into a powerful structure, able of holding an immense weight.

This is a good analogy of the importance each of us have in the Body of Christ, the Church. We are those little pieces of wood. We can each hold only a little weight, not all that much. But when we are united together, and united with Jesus, we can hold the weight of the world.

We need each other, and we need Jesus. And we have Jesus. We are the Body of Christ. We are the Church ■

[1] Sunday 7th September, 2008, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Ezekiel 33:7-9. O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts—Ps 94(95):1-2, 6-9. Romans 13:8-10. Matthew 18:15-20.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris