Poison or Healing?
Malvern Minute

 

 August 16, 2017 – Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Stephen of Hungary

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (18:15-20)

Jesus said to his disciples:
If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.

If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

 

Reflect: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Unity leads to prayer. Prayer is powerful. One of the remarkable points of today’s gospel is that mighty deeds begin to happen when we join in the name of Jesus. It’s no accident that the first part of this reading talks about reconciliation. We are exhorted by Jesus to seek unity and reconciliation when someone sins against us. Resolution to conflict is played out on a very personal, private level. It is not thrust immediately into the court of public opinion as our culture so often encourages. In fact, approaching an offending brother or sister in faith is disarming. Why? Because when we invite Jesus who is pure Truth – the Way, the Truth and the Life – to be in our midst, our perspective changes; we put down our defenses. It is no longer about us or the other. It is about glorifying the Body of Christ. That is why gossip is so poisonous. Gossip seeks to have others choose a winner and loser. Gossip dishonors the Body of Christ; it tears apart unity. Clearly, Jesus advises that if we cannot achieve reconciliation alone, then we need to involve others of faith – always striving for truth, for unity, for healing. When we do anything in the name of Jesus, it lifts us from a purely earthly plane to a welcoming of the divine, the holy. The challenge for us is to live a life where we always invite and welcome Jesus to be in our midst – in our relationships, in our families, in our parishes, in our communities, at work, at school.

Questions: Is my goal to honor Jesus and his Body or myself and my aspirations? Am I intent to rely on the powerful grace of God to heal and reconcile? What value is it for me to welcome Jesus into the midst of all of my relationships and interactions with others?

Pray: Loving God, you are the source of all unity and truth. Help me to be united with you in all that I do so that I might always seek to honor your Body and your holy name.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Stephen of Hungary: Pray for us!

Stephen was baptized at the age of ten, together with his father. He became the first Christian king of Hungary. During his reign, he united and Christianized the pagan Magyar tribes; working tirelessly to build an authentic Christian culture. With the blessing of Pope Sylvester II, he established episcopal sees, built and endowed churches, and established tithes to support the work of priests. He was renowned for his generosity, giving to the poor from his own resources. Stephen died in 1038, and was canonized in 1083. He is the first king and patron saint of Hungary.

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