September 10, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Omissions: a Sunday Scriptures blog

I get to help immigrants learn English, and for them it’s like learning two languages, basic English, and then idiomatic English. According to Wikipedia, in English there are 25,000 idiomatic expressions of different kinds! Several I was thinking about as I read today’s Gospel:  “Don’t rock the boat,” “See no Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak no evil,” “Peace at any price.” The Gospel is Jesus’ advice on how to address bad behavior by someone else. But it is very difficult for us, in our families, our workplaces, our culture to “say something” to someone behaving poorly, or say something about a problem. We don’t want conflict, we don’t want anger to be directed at us, we don’t want to be labeled as a troublemaker.  When someone acted badly in biblical times, they were “called out” — by the “watchman” in our first reading from Ezekiel, by the Christian community in our Gospel. Love does not mean accepting behavior that brings harm to the church, or the family, or the workplace or the nation. Even though they might still remain in our hearts, there are times when people must be excluded from our inner circle, from our families, from our churches. 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. But every person and every social group must decide when to “excommunicate” those whose viewpoints or actions are harmful. Pope Francis has spoken often of the sins we don’t confess, sins of omission — things we failed to do that led to a harm that may not have happened had we seen, heard, said something, done something. Judging, discerning good from evil, and acting on our judgments is our responsibility as human persons, and as disciples of Christ. 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; Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

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