This weekend’s Gospel deals with our relationship to each other and highlights one of the tricky responsibilities that we have towards others, namely fraternal correction. I remember reading this story somewhere, in a little church in a small village, an altar boy serving the priest at Sunday Mass accidentally dropped the cruet of wine. The priest was not happy and shouted, leave the altar and don't come back. That boy became Marshall Tito, the Communist leader. In the cathedral of a large city in another place, another altar boy serving the bishop at Sunday Mass also accidentally dropped the cruet of wine. With a warm twinkle in his eyes, the bishop gently whispered, "Someday you will be a priest." Do you know who that boy was? Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. How do we deal with others who have caused problems for us? Jesus has the answer in today’s Gospel: with straight talk, due process, but most of all, with grace and humility.
As Christians we are responsible and to a certainly extent accountable for the welfare of those under our care, be it children, parents, elders, or even friends. In each occupation, there is a responsibility and full accountability is required of the individuals. As Christians we are not individuals but members of the Body of Christ that is the Church. The readings of today tell us of God’s command of spiritual responsibility and accountability that each one of us have towards our neighbours. It speaks of our opportunity towards our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in error. They challenge us to care for our brothers and sisters and protect them in their physical and spiritual needs. This week, let us take some time to reflect on our responsibility towards God. Let us reflect on how we will account to God for the actions of those around us, be it our parents, our brothers or sisters, our children, our relatives, our neighbours and all of those whose life we touch.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.