Gospel of Matthew 18:15-20
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and tell them their fault between you and them alone. If they listen to you, you have won over your brother or sister. If they do not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they refuse to listen to them, tell the church. If they refuse to listen even to the church, then treat them as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Jesus is showing us the steps necessary for a community of reconciliation. Accountability and transparency are foundational for the Christian community.
We are living through the devastating impact of the antithesis of a transparent and accountable Church as revealed by the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. The tragic consequences have reached far and wide. The pain and suffering of survivors, their families and friends immeasurable. As a result, the whole church is in trauma.
Jesus promises to be present in the church if we turn to him for guidance. The importance of the community is seen by the fact that it is the community, not merely its leader who exercises disciplinary power.
Mary Ward valued sincerity immensely. She defined it as “that we be such as we appear, and appear such as we are.” A person who is in harmony with God is also transparent with others. Deception and acting under false pretences are inconsistent with the behaviour of a just person.
In my prayer, I ask for the grace to be in harmony with God.
I pray for healing and reconciliation for my community and church.