23rd Sunday in OT (Ezk 33:7-9; Matt 18:15-20)
PONDERING GOD’S WORD (Meditation)
“In the room of charity” (Latin: in camera caritatis) is a Latin expression of medieval origin, which means in a place where no one else may hear. The “camera” (room) is the place where power is exercised and “caritatis” (charity) is the attitude of love for one’s neighbor. It is normally used in connection with a reproach done only in the presence of the person concerned. This is the advice given by Jesus in the gospel, when he says “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.”
At the event that he does not listen, the matter remains as private as possible even at the presence of the two or three witnesses. The gospel passage reveals to us of the manner that the church dealt with such problems at the time of the writing of Matthew’s gospel. It tells us how they exhausted all the possibilities before taking drastic measures.
Jesus reaffirms what he has previously told Peter: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This is asserting the power of the Church in what she does on earth. It is clear that there is a community at work during the time of the writing of the gospel.
This we see in the final part of this discourse: the community aspect of prayer. Praying together spells wonders. More than that, Jesus is present in two or three gathered together. Reflected in this gospel passage is the prayer of the Church.
In Matthew’s gospel we see Jesus as Emmanuel, “God with us.” At the beginning, his conception and birth signals God’s presence among us. At the commissioning at the end of the Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that he will always be with them until the end of time. Here in the middle of the gospel, he assures them that he is with them when they pray together.
- How do I correct others when they are at fault?
- Do I join others in prayer? How do I participate in the liturgical celebrations of the Church?
Ask the Lord to continue blessing the Church—her leaders and members—and protecting it from all dangers.