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常年期第23主日 HOMILY 23rd Sunday OT A September 10, 2023


常年期第23主日 HOMILY 23rd Sunday OT A September 10, 2023

Fr. Bento Tamang


We have an outstanding practice at the end of every semester in the seminary. We regularly do brotherly corrections. We sit down in groups of about 6-8 seminarians and pray for the courage to correct each other with love, not in anger or with the intention to shame or humiliate, to ask forgiveness in humility and love, and to accept apologies and courageously offer forgiveness. The purpose of this circle for brotherly correction is for us to help each other grow by recognizing and accepting our shortcomings with the help of others. One of our essential responsibilities as disciples of Christ is to correct each other so that we can grow together in holiness as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel today gives us a whole process of how to correct a member of our Christian community who sins. The first way to correct a fellow disciple who sins is to point out his/her fault between you and him/her alone. This entails avoiding the tendency to correct someone publicly because it might lead to hurting or shaming someone in front of others. We must do it privately and not in an aggressive way. If the one at fault listens to you, you have won over your brother/sister. If s/he does not listen to you, you have to “take one or two others along with you” to point out his/her fault. This need for two witnesses might be an influence from Dt. 19:15, which prescribes that “a judicial fact should be established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If s/he still does not listen, the matter should be brought to the Christian community. And if s/he persists in refusing “to listen even to the church, then treat him/her as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Meaning s/he is expelled from the Christian community. So, these are the processes of how to correct a fellow Christian in the early church. Do we still practice correcting our fellow Christians with courage, humility, and love because we are each other’s keepers? Or do we gossip with our fellow churchgoers about the faults of others and, worse, make both the sinners and their sins as laughingstocks?

Let us be warned by the first reading today from the book of the Prophet Ezekiel: “If you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, and God will hold you responsible for his death.” But if you warn the wicked to turn away from his/her sins and “s/he refuses to turn from his/her way, s/he shall die for his/her guilt, but you shall save yourself.” Thus, we must correct those who are in sinful situations out of love and concern for their spiritual well-being. We might have some valid reasons not to correct a fellow disciple who sins, such as fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of being hated, and the sense of unworthiness because we also have our shortcomings. And yet, correcting each other is an act of love that we owe to each other. As Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, “owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” And if we correct each other in love and humility, not in anger or with the intention to shame or hurt, we are living one of the greatest commandments, as Paul further reiterates in the 2nd reading, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Indeed, the primary reason to correct fellow disciples is because we love and care for them and want them to outgrow their sins and grow in their faithfulness to God.

And so, if today we hear God’s voice calling us to conversion through correcting words from fellow Christians, let us not harden our hearts but be open to accepting corrections even when it hurts. We have to realize that the process of conversion, the journey of turning away from our sins and re-turning to God, can well be a way of the cross. Therefore, we pray forgive us, Lord, when we don’t have the courage, humility, and love to correct others. Forgive us for not being humble enough to accept corrections from others and refuse to acknowledge our faults. May your holy words that we listen to and the body of Christ that we partake of today soften our hearts and minds so that we can be open to your call to conversion through the corrections we receive from others.






常年期(甲年)第二十三主日講道 (09/10/2023 )

讀經一: 厄則克耳先知書 33:7-9
讀經二: 保祿宗徒致羅馬人書 13:8-10
福音: 瑪竇福音 18:15-20


今天的福音為我們提供了如何糾正基督徒群體中犯罪的成員的整個過程。糾正犯了罪的同工的第一個方法就是在你和他/她之間單獨指出他/她的過錯。這需要避免公開糾正某人的傾向,因為這可能會導致在他人面前傷害或羞辱某人。我們必須私下進行,而不是採取咄咄逼人的方式。如果有過錯的人聽你的話,你就贏得了你的兄弟/姐妹。如果他/她不聽你的話,你就必須帶著一兩個人一起指出他/她的錯誤。需要兩名證人可能是受到 《申命紀》的影響。 《申命紀》第 19章第 15 節規定: 司法事實只能根據兩到三名證人的證詞才能成立。 如果他/她仍然不聽,則應將此事提交給基督教會團體。如果他/她堅持拒絕甚至不聽教會的意見,那麼就像對待外邦人或稅吏一樣對待他/她。意味著他/她被驅逐出基督教會團體。所以,這些就是早期教會中如何糾正基督徒同工的過程。我們是否仍然實行用勇氣、謙卑和愛來糾正我們的基督徒同伴,因為我們是彼此的守護者?或者,我們是否會與常去教堂的其他人一起閒聊別人的過錯,更糟糕的是,讓罪人和他們的罪惡成為笑柄?

讓今天的讀經一厄則克耳先知書警誡我們: 如果你不大聲勸阻惡人離開他的道路,惡人將因他的罪而死,天主將追究你對他的死負責。 但如果你警告惡人轉離他/她的罪惡,而他/她拒絕轉離他/她的道路,他/她將因他/她的罪孽而死,但你可以拯救自己。 因此,我們必須出於愛和關心他們的靈性福祉而糾正那些處於罪惡境地的人。我們可能有一些正當的理由不去糾正犯了罪的同仁,比如害怕傷害別人的感情、害怕被仇恨,以及因為我們也有缺點而感到不配。然而,互相糾正是我們彼此之間的一種愛的行為。正如保祿在寫給羅馬人的書信中告訴我們的那樣: 除了彼此相愛外,你們不可再虧欠人什麼。 並且如果我們本著仁愛和謙卑的態度互相糾正,而不是出於憤怒或羞辱或傷害的意圖,我們就是在實踐最大的誡命之一,正如保祿在讀經二中進一步重申的那樣: 愛你的近人如同你自己。  事實上,糾正門徒同伴的主要原因是因為我們愛他們、關心他們,希望他們能夠擺脫罪孽,對天主更加忠誠。