Sometimes we hear quoted to us passages from Scripture about not judging, about forgiving 70 times 70, and about being merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful. And all this is great advice! We will hear it next week! But today, in the first reading from Ezekiel and in our Gospel, we see that in the early Christian community (Matthew’s community), when someone acted badly they were called out. Love does not mean accepting behavior that brings harm to the church, or the family, or the workplace or the nation. There are times when people must be excluded from our inner circle, from our families, from our churches even though they might still remain in our hearts. There is great pain at these times. Bishops grieve when they must dismiss priests; parents are heartbroken when they must exclude from their homes an adult child with destructive behaviors. A society must decide when to “excommunicate” citizens whose viewpoints harm the community. So indeed we must judge, and act on judgments. The trick is to do it with deliberation, compassion and in the company of others, leaning on their wisdom as well as our own; that seems to be what today’s Gospel advises!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia