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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

10 September 2023

10 September - Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 33:7-9

Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Reading 2 Rom 13:8-10

Alleluia 2 Cor 5:19

Gospel Mt 18:15-20


In today's world, where there is a cult of personality, where everyone looks primarily at their own lives, it is not welcome to interfere in the lives of others, it is not good, and sometimes ends in anger, criticism, vulgar words or insults. People, like dogs, guard their lives fiercely, not allowing others to enter, who often want to help them, simply draw attention to some problem, bad behavior, or sin. It comes from love and care for a person who may get lost somewhere, fall down, or miss something in his life. In this context, today's readings are difficult to accept, especially the words of Jesus, who does not encourage, but commands: go and tell him his fault, do it, do not make excuses, do not pretend that there is no problem, that you do not see, do not turn your head away, don't hide it. When I talk to people about this topic, I often hear that it is not within their competence, that it does not depend on them. I see how they justify themselves but when something bad happens, they are the first to get angry and curse the person they are afraid to go to. They clearly have a problem with it, but they prefer to live with this problem, torment themselves, poison their hearts with anger, hatred, judgment and talking behind their backs than to confront the problem and try to solve it. This is a bad circle that no one wants to stop, and it comes to the point where one person is poisoning everyone's life, but everyone actually agrees to it, even though they suffer because of it. It doesn't make sense, but unfortunately it is what it is because no one finds the courage to even try to talk or pay attention. Yes, it is not easy to face someone's anger, not everyone will understand what I am going through in my heart, not everyone will immediately notice their mistake and draw conclusions, will jump on me or push me away, but it is even more difficult to live with a burden in my heart, to bend, to smile despite tears of pain that come out of your eyes. I noticed that when I confront someone, telling him what I think or correcting him, I feel better in my heart, even if this person does not change, even if he reject me. I feel a strange peace in my heart because I was able to take responsibility for his life, which he is unable to bear. Jesus predicts to his disciples that such courage will not always result in success, that showing someone the truth will not immediately change their life, but that is not really the point, because it is not me who changes others, but God does it. He fights for man, especially for the most lost, weak, malicious, stubborn, he straightens his life, but he does it through me, through my words, courage and love. I never saw Jesus come down from heaven and admonish me, but I remember people who did it, my parents, colleagues, brothers who showed me the difficult truth about me, converted me, told me about the painful things that happened to them through me. At first I rebelled, I despised in my heart, I rejected, I didn't want to accept these words, I was afraid of them. Now I know that God worked through them, polishing my life and protecting me from evil and stupidity. I wonder how many mistakes I avoided thanks to their courage, thanks to the fact that they were not afraid of my anger, and thanks to the fact that they were resistant to my often stupid words towards them. I wonder who I would be today if they had closed their eyes, pretended there was no problem or trusted their fear and didn't approach me. I know that by admonishing someone and doing it out of love, I may be saving their life, even if they don't understand it now. By not admonishing, hanging my head, closing my eyes, I am putting someone's life in danger, I am not warning them about the evil that threatens them. I am then complicit in the evil that befell them. The first reading says this clearly and emphatically: If I tell the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself. Words that I don't necessarily want to agree with, because I don't care about someone else's life, I think differently. You can think differently, justify yourself to yourself or others, but God wants to help every person, save him and give him a chance to improve. That's why He needs you to help him change people as much as you can, as much as you can. If you see evil in someone and do nothing, you pass by, you become complicit in that evil, because you could have helped, you could have even simply said there was a problem, and you didn't do it. Therefore, the consequences of someone else's evil will also fall on you. God doesn't expect great things from us, he doesn't want me to quarrel with another person or fight him, all I have to do is say what I see wrong with him, even if he doesn't accept it, and I'll move on. Just one sentence, one admonition, can change someone's life. In the second reading, Paul says to be guided in life primarily by love, and as we know, love is not only a sweet feeling, beautiful words or promises, it is also responsibility for the life of another person, and therefore telling him a difficult truth that may cause him distress, but it comes from concern for his life. Let us not be afraid to take this responsibility, let us not be afraid to help God in the fight for the salvation of others, even if it costs us.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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