The readings this weekend are all about this love of neighbor. In the Gospel (Matthew 18:15-20), Jesus tells us that one form of that love is privately confronting a neighbor who has wronged us. Done in a loving way, it can cause repentance and a healing of relationships. As I was taught in the Navy, “praise in public, correct in private.” Unfortunately, there is a tendency to hold the wrong in our hearts and then share that wrong with others through gossip. That helps neither party involved as more people are negatively effected.
The first reading (Ezekiel 33:7-9) is similar, as it reminds us of our responsibility of a spiritual work of mercy—“warn the sinner.” Again, it’s not easy, but if we truly love, we want all of our brothers and sisters to go to heaven. Sin leads us in the other direction. As Paul reminds us in the second reading (Romans 13:8-10) quoting Jesus, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Love for our neighbor consists of threes things: To desire the greater good of everyone; to do what good we can when we can; to bear, excuse and hide others’ faults.”
~ Thoughts of the Cure D’Ars