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XXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time

A few rules to stay together

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Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!

"You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church": we heard this sentence two Sundays ago, and today (Mt 18:15-20) we learn that Jesus not only established His Church, but also established the fundamental criteria to be followed in order to be part of it.

Man is a social being, that is he cannot live alone; the relationship with our neighbor is essential, but every relationship has its own rules. There are many ways of being together: there can be indifference or tolerance towards our neighbor, even if we need him; there can be selfishness, exploiting others for our own advantage; there can be the intent to assert our own supremacy over others.... etc. etc. Jesus proclaims (and gives the example) a different way of being together: with love, the authentic love that wants the good of those around us. And precisely on love we should base the rules of life among those who call themselves friends of Jesus, and who for this reason are in the Church.

We find the first rule at the beginning of today's Gospel. It concerns behavior toward those we believe have offended or damaged us. “If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.” No clamor, then; even with the intent to help our neighbor, it is better if the evil remains secret and whoever is wrong is not exposed to public reprobation. It may happen, however, that the guilty party resists, but even then one must not give up; always with loving discretion, Jesus implies, we can try again with some help: " If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: whatever the misdemeanour, the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain the charge.” But if he refuses to listen to these.... then, only then does the fact assume public importance, and the common good becomes a priority. "If he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a gentile or a tax collector.", that is, an outsider, from whom you can keep your distance.

At the end we find another aspect of living together in the Church: community prayer. " If two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.". Without denying the value of individual prayer, prayer done together is more important, because it brings "added value" - and what value! - the presence of Jesus. Moreover, even praying alone, the Christian never forgets to belong to a community; even praying alone he does not say "My Father who art in heaven...", but always "Our Father", as Jesus has taught.

In community prayer we recognize ourselves as children of the same Father and therefore as brothers and sisters. This prayer reaches its climax in the celebration of Mass. Here, being part of a community is made concrete, here we learn the way of living attentive to one another, here the presence of Jesus becomes so concrete that we can experience it as food.

That's why it is not right the motivation of those who do not attend Mass, preferring to watch it on television, or go to church "when there is no one there, so I concentrate better". Christians are such because they belong to the community that Christ wanted: the community of those who are "gathered in His name". And Paul, in the second reading (Rom 13:8-10), sums it up: "Brothers, the only thing you should owe to anyone is love for one another, for to love the other person is to fulfil the law.. Love can cause no harm to your neighbour, and so love is the fulfilment of the Law.”

In a passage from October 1909 Jesus speaks to Luisa about true love. True love facilitates everything, excludes any fear, any doubt, and all of its art is in taking possession of the beloved; and when it has made her its own, love itself provides her with the means in order to preserve the object acquired. Now, what fear, what doubt can a soul have about something that belongs to her? What can she not hope for? Even more, when she has come to take possession of it, love becomes daring and reaches the point of taking excesses up to the incredible. True love can say: ‘There is no longer yours and mine - I am yours, and you are mine; so, we can dispose of each other, delight in each other, enjoy each other. If I have acquired you, I want to use you as I please’

How can the soul, in this state of true love, go fishing for defects, miseries, weaknesses, if the object acquired has condoned her everything, embellishes her with everything, and the object that she possesses keeps purifying her continuously? These are the virtues of true love: to purify everything, to triumph over everything, to reach everything. In fact, what love can there be for a person whom one fears, about whom one doubts, from whom one does not hope for everything? Love would lose the best of its qualities. In the soul who lives in the Divine Will the thing is very different: since she should be in Heaven with Jesus, and she has sacrificed this for love of obedience and of her neighbor, love has been confirmed in her, the will has been confirmed in not offending her. Therefore her life is like a life that has already passed, and this is why she does not feel the burden of her miseries. So, let us love God up to the infinite Love.

a cura di Don Marco
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Last comments 1 of 1
- 9/28/2020
Love is beautifully expressed. Why can so few people express this when we are called to love one another as He loved us?