The Gospel reading we have for today is a very interesting one indeed, especially if we truly listen to what Jesus is saying to us. Of course, we know that what He is doing in this passage is explaining to us a set of procedures we should follow if someone sins against us.  At first glance it might seem like He is about to explain to us how we are to go about the process of getting retribution and justice for the wrong that was done to us.  But that’s not what Jesus does at all. The end goal of the instructions He gives to us today, is not aimed at the injured party receiving any kind of retribution at all. Jesus’ primary goal when any kind of sin has been committed is that the sinner who committed the sin be restored to the community.  Everything He tells us to do has to do with reconciling the sinner with the faith community once again. To Him, the problem that is created when a sin has been committed is that now the sinner has separated himself/herself from the faith community. To Him it is the problem of the one who has been sinned against and the faith community as a whole to do everything that can be done to try to bring the sinner back into right relationship with the community.  Basically, we are called to treat the sinner as the Good Shepherd would treat a lost sheep.  That’s a little bit different than how we think isn’t it?  When someone wrongs us, do we find ourselves concerned with the poor soul who has now separated himself from the community, or do we find ourselves concerned with ourselves?  Yet Jesus says that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Part of following His command of loving one another as He loves us means that our utmost concern has to be with doing everything we can to make sure that all members of the community are reconciled with each other-even when we are the one who has been wronged by another. It means realizing, understanding and living out the truth that even when someone wrongs us, the biggest problem is that the one who has sinned is now faced with the possibility of living a life outside of the faith community, and that this problem is ours.

AuthorCathy Remick