The Catholic Calendar for Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

St. Pontian, pope and martyr
St. Hippolytus, priest and martyr

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Ezekiel 9:1-7; 10:18-22
Psalm 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Matthew 18:15-20

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you. (see Matthew 18:15-16)

When the Youngbloods’ hit, “Get Together” reached the top of the charts in the late 60’s, it was a time when love and peace were reflected in everything, especially music. I loved its soothing beat and would sing along with the words, even though I didn’t appreciate their meaning. Today when I read St. Matthew’s Gospel, the long forgotten song stirred within me and I found myself searching the web for the lyrics. It seemed the writer had also been inspired by today’s Gospel when he composed this song, especially the verse, “You hold the key to love and fear, in your trembling hand. Just one key unlocks them both, it’s there at your command.”

With precision, Jesus teaches us how to reconcile with our brother, even when we’re the one wounded. Both the Gospel and the song speak of peace and how it’s up to us to make the first move, no matter how deep our wound.

Has someone hurt you profoundly but never expressed their regret or asked your forgiveness? Turn to Jesus first, then go and seek peace with them. Don’t let fear stand in the way, because Jesus will be there to move His process forward. He taught that if our brother refuses us, we should seek the prayers of others, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20). If there’s still no response, don’t give up. Arrange to have one or more Masses offered for your circumstance, for when the Church prays together, Jesus is present! In the meantime, you and your brother are moving closer toward peace.

We hardly live in a time of peace and love today, but we can always obtain it for ourselves and others. God’s Word never goes away. The words to this song are still out there for us to return to, perhaps with new eyes now that we have more reasons to forgive. And Jesus is with us forever. He told us what to do. Now it’s up to us.

“C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together,
try to love one another right now. Right now. Right now.”

(see the video “Get Together” ~ Lyrics by songwriter Chet Powers 1943-1994)

– Elizabeth A. Tichvon | elizabethtichvon@comcast.net

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