Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

teaching.jpg

 

Matthew 18: 15-20

"Where two or three meet in my name"

The community aspect of Church is at the heart of today's Gospel. We come to faith and baptism into Christ only through the community. It is within the community that we grow as followers of Christ - and through our own individual growing in Christ the community as a whole also grows in his spirit. In the same way, if we turn away from Christ, our sin, no matter how personal, is never a purely private affair. Sin damages not only our own individual dignity and relationship with God, it also wounds the community. Hence, our reconciliation with God involves reconciliation with and through the community. All this, because it is in the communion of the Church that Christ is present for us.

The power of binding and loosing that Jesus conferred on Peter is extended in today's Gospel to the whole community: "whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven." Not only those who are ordained, but all members of the community of the Church are involved in the mission of conversion and called upon to support every person who seeks healing and forgiveness.

People who are feeling lost, dismayed by their own failures and weakness, or discouraged by the weaknesses of others, need a community that calls them into a life of fellowship. It is there, where two or three meet in his name, that Christ shall be with them. Meeting in his name, however, means more than just being bodily together in the same building; it means being open to one another, welcoming of each other, supporting each other, and reflecting for each other that saving love which Christ has for us all.