23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - September 06, 2020

FIRST READING

Ezekiel 33:7-9

Ezekiel clearly heard God's directive: call sinners to return. God placed this responsibility squarely on his shoulders, for, if he did not try to correct the immoral, he would share in their guilt. What does this say about our responsibilities for the actions of others?
The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the prophet:

7 So you, son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 8 When I tell the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you dont speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, and he doesnt turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul.

PSALM

Psalm 95

95 was a song of praise, mixed with a twist of guilt. The author seemed to say: Let's praise God, but let's also remember the times we walked away from his presence. That comparison should be enough to keep us on the road toward him.
1 Oh come, let's sing to YHWH.
Let's shout aloud to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let's come before his presence with thanksgiving.
Let's extol him with songs!
3 For YHWH is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth.
The heights of the mountains are also his.
5 The sea is his, and he made it.
His hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let's worship and bow down.
Let's kneel before YHWH, our Maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep in his care.
Today, oh that you would hear his voice!
8 Don't harden your heart, as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers tempted me,
tested me, and saw my work.
10 Forty long years I was grieved with that generation,
and said, "It is a people that errs in their heart.
They have not known my ways."
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
"They won't enter into my rest."

SECOND READING

Romans 13:8-10

Romans 13 expressed Christian relationships in one word: love. We are to love each other, for love fulfills the Law.

Popular Translation:

8 Dont owe anything to anyone except love for others. The person who loves others has fulfilled Gods Law. 9 Consider the commandments: Do not be unfaithful in marriage, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not desire things that you dont have. These and any other commandment are summed up in one command: Love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love of neighbor does no harm; so, love fulfills Gods Law.

Literal Translation:

8 To no one owe nothing except to love one another. The (person) loving the other has fulfilled the Law. 9 For the (commandments), You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and some other commandment is summed up in this saying, [in the (command)], You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 The love of neighbor does not produce evil; then love is the fulfillment of the Law.

GOSPEL

Matthew 18:15-20

In the from Matthew, Jesus commanded his followers to resolve disputes in a way that preserved the honor of the sinner. Implicitly, Jesus rejected shame as a means to control social behavior. Respect, not guilt, was the way to build up the Church.

Popular Translation:

Jesus said to his disciples:

15 "If another believer hurts you, go and talk to him about it in private. If he really hears you and does something about it, he will become a true friend. 16 If he refuses to hear you, go and talk to him again with two or three other believers. 'Every word spoken against someone can be confirmed with two or three witnesses.' 17 If he ignores them, explain the hurt to the community. If he also ignores the community, treat him like an unbeliever or a traitor.

18 "Listen to what I say to you! God approves of everything you permit or prohibit in the community. 19 Listen again to what I say to you! Any time two among you pray for agreement about any dispute between them, my Father in heaven will do it for them. 20 For, when two or three believers gather together to pray in my name, I am present with them."

Literal Translation:

Jesus said to his disciples:

15 If your brother should sin [against you], go (and) discuss (the matter with) him, in private between you and him. If he should hear you, you have gained (back) a brother. 16 But if not, then take one or two (others) along with you, that 'on the (discussion) of two or three witnesses, every word will stand.' 17 But if he should refuse to hear them, speak (the accusation) to the assembly. But if he should also refuse to hear the assembly, let (him) be to you as the Gentile or the tax collector.

18 Amen, amen, I say to you. Whatever you should bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loosen on earth will have been loosen in heaven. 19 Again [amen] I say to you that if two of you agree on earth about any (dispute), whatever they should ask, it will happen for them from my Father, the (One) in heaven. 20 For, wherever two or three are brought together in my name, I will be there in the middle of them."


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