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Theology for the common man

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Sunday, September 06, 2020

"If today you hear his (God’s) voice, harden not your hearts,” we read today, in the refrain of the Psalm, which could serve us as a motto to the readings. First reading speaks about a “watchman for the house of Israel,” who in the name of God should always tell the truth, so to move the conscience of the listeners and incline them to follow the commandments of God. If they will not listen to them, they take all responsibilities on their own shoulders including the punishment as its consequence (a physical and especially spiritual death). And exactly, a “watchman for the house of Israel” has this duty to tell this in the name of God. This role in the New Testament plays now in the Church of Jesus Christ, who in the name of its Master, is supposed to react to all evil and admonish the world facing all abuse of the law of God, even a natural law which comes from God in its last instance. For Jesus Christ died for all people, no matter of faith, taking into consideration a dignity of every human being restored by him on the cross. The Gospel today speaks about it asking Christians to react to any evil spreading in this world, to stop it, to stamp it out by personal persuasion or by communal admonition, and at last even by exclusion from the Church, as a sign of disapprobation and no affiliation with the spread evil. In the context of this, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And always, it has to be done in the spirit of sacrificial love in the example of Jesus' cross; this is what the second reading reminds us today: “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law (…). Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Ultimately, it is love, a criterion of all moral opinion in the Church and in the world. With this in mind, we also have to listen to Jesus who asks us to pray in his Church (“For where two or three are gathered together in my name…”) for spreading goodness on this earth.