Meditating on today's Sunday readings (Ez 33: 7-9 / Rom 13: 8-10 / Mt 18; 15-20) what comes to my mind is that the biblical passage from the Book of Genesis, in which God asks Cain about Abel, and he replied: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gn 4: 9) We are well aware of the tragedy that was hidden behind this dialogue. When I keep thinking about today's readings, it already seems to me a true personal tragedy that we cannot love one another as Christ himself asks us and teaches us, simply because: "whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 Jn 4: 8) That's right! It is a tragedy that human beings do not come to know and live true love for others, while at the same time discovering that they are loved by others. Life is the opportunity that each and every one has to learn to love and be loved. Why have we come into this world? The mission is love. Christ speaks to us and shows us what love is.
It sounds beautiful to our ears to hear about love, but to love as God asks and teaches us is not an easy task, because love is demanding. Love challenges us more and more. I understand that the best expression of love is “to serve"; yes, serving not only those who love us, it is also about serving those who do not love us and those we do not love, so that love is all in all (Lk 6: 27-38). Jesus, speaking of love for one's neighbor, also tells us: "Do to others as you would have them do to you". (Lk 6:31).
Loving our neighbor also involves having the courage and charity to correct the one who is in error. This is what the readings for this Sunday are about. Let us keep in mind another biblical text: "For whom the Lord loves he reproves, as a father, the son he favors." (Pb 3, 12). So, knowing how to correct with charity is knowing how to love, and the way to correct is also presented to us by Christ in today's Gospel (Mt 18, 15-20).
The path of Christian perfection is a long and demanding path, but it is a path that provides satisfaction, and peace, because what we learn along the way makes us truly free and much more authentic, it allows us to reach where we are called to be: with God, thanks to the love that has also perfected and corrected us along the way.
Fr. Carlos Flores, OSA