Every time we receive a package, we see the words “Handle with Care” or Fragile.
We tend to keep it in mind on how we handle the parcel we receive. I know because I once handled packages that were ready to arrive at one’s door. The moment we don’t carefully handle it something inside of it will break. Plus, a customer may look elsewhere to have packages handled properly.
Like parcels and packages, we have to be careful how we handle our words. Our speech can either build or tear down the other person.
Jesus reminds us of this stern warning in the gospel for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. One phrase that stands out from the passage talks about sin and the need to correct it. He states, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Matthew 18:15).
First, Jesus carries on what the Prophet Ezekiel reminds us of when he refers to sinners as “wicked ones”. Should it not be done privately, it must be brought about to the community.
Through the ministry of Jesus, he spent many times with sinners. Why? He didn’t wine and dine with them to celebrate what they were doing. Instead, it was an opportunity for them to follow Jesus through his call to conversion. He did it through his merciful love. For us, we must do the same. It can be exhausting, but we want to will the good of the other as St. Thomas Aquinas defines love.
Faithful pro-lifers have shown this many times. Look at the ones who planted the seeds for the conversion of former abortion providers like Abby Johnson and Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Their response to every jeer, mockery, and assault from abortion providers and supporters was love. The love and mercy many pro-lifers have poured out time after time shows that it can free us from the oppression of sin.
The Catholic Church welcomes sinners Not on their terms but on the terms of God. Likewise, we must strive to live out his command to love daily, not just for some but for everyone. For all of us who are a work in progress, we are in good company. Thankfully, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation waiting for us before Mass. He is waiting.