Sunday, September 7, 2014

Reflection: Luke 18:15-20

Sunday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 18:15-20

The Gospel for today is a difficult passage to swallow. Jesus is telling the disciples: “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and talk with him/ her first.” When someone “sins against us,” typically the last thing we want to do is to go and talk with them! We may want to yell at them but to have a true “heart to heart” conversation is not easy to do.

What is your first reaction when someone “sins against you” (hurts us, makes us angry, etc.)? Is it to get angry? Or is to get hurt? Do you withdraw? Do you talk with them calmly or in an angry or confronting way? Our approach to the other person is very important. If we approach the individual in anger, he or she may be more likely to respond in an angry way. However, if we approach them calmly yet honestly, they still may be defensive but perhaps they also may be open to hear what we are saying.

In the Gospels, Jesus gives us good examples of this. Most often Jesus spoke what was in his mind and heart in a sincere yet honest way. It is important that we also speak what is in our hearts and minds — in a sincere yet honest way. If a relationship truly is important to us, we need to be honest and to share what it is we are thinking and feeling. If we don’t do this, our anger, hurt, jealousy, etc., may begin to erode the relationship we have!

In these types of situations, perhaps the first thing we need to do is to “pray about it.” That may sound simple and pious. When we get upset, our instinctive reaction may not necessarily be the best way to handle it! We might say something that we later regret!

Taking time to stop, breathe and pray gives us the opportunity to reflect more deeply on what next step might be helpful. Stepping back for a time may gradually calm our minds and our hearts. This may enable us to approach the other person in a calmer and more prayerful way. We still need to be honest about how we feel but how we approach the other person often affects how they respond. This takes courage to do! The gift is we don’t have to do this alone! May we trust that God will grace us with what we need!

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