Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: sins against you, gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them
To the point: In this Gospel Jesus acknowledges inevitable conflicts arising among those living in the community of the church. Rifts in relationships between members of the church are actually rifts in the relationship with Jesus himself. Not facing whatever fractures the unity of the church belies its gathering in Jesus' name. Healing fractures ensures that members of the church remain in relationship with Jesus and grow in love for one another. The impulse for resolving conflicts and preserving the unity of the church comes from Jesus himself and his continued presence in the community. The response to Jesus must come from the members of the church and their work of reconciliation.
Connecting the Gospel …
… to the First Reading: In the First Reading God confronts Ezekiel with the responsibility to remain faithful to his prophetic mission to confront the wicked. Jesus in the gospel calls the church to this same responsibility to confront the sinful.
… to experience: In our own lives, we know how easy it is to sin against another and how difficult to repair the relationship. Healing and reconciliation are possible when an honest exchange is brought about by the commitment of both to living the mercy, reconciliation, and forgiveness Jesus taught.