23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - A  - September 7, 2014


How does your family or community resolve disputes? Are there procedures to address the issues in a quiet, yet just way? Or, do disputes get handled in full view?


WEEKLY BLOG LINK How can we resolve disputes in our viral driven world?

MP3 PODCAST In this week's audio podcast, we reflect on the adage: “Praise in public, correct in private.” Jesus expanded on that notion with concrete ways to resolve conflicts in the community.

FIRST READING 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?

PSALM Psalm 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.

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

GOSPEL In the gospel 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

CHILDREN'S READINGS In the story for the first reading, Laura was given responsibility for new puppy. She had to feed him, house train him, and love him. Like Ezekiel, Laura learned that responsibility is necessary for love to grow. In the story for the gospel, a bully tried to push three boys from their favorite lunch area. One boy wanted to move, another wanted to fight, but the third quietly stood his ground. That boy was wise, for he was concerned about his friends and the bully, just like Jesus. Jesus gave us a way to take care of the insult in a way that cared for everyone

FAMILY ACTIVITY In the gospel, Jesus gave us rules of respect. What rules does your family have that encourage respect? Review, rewrite, and renew those rules with everyone in the family, so all will understand that rewards and punishments are fair.