First reading Ezekiel 33:7-9

If you do not speak to the wicked man, I will hold you responsible for his death

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.’
 

Responsorial Psalm 94(95):1-2,6-9

R.  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”

 

Second reading Romans 13:8-10

Your only debt should be the debt of mutual love

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.
 

Gospel Matthew 18:15-20

If your brother listens to you, you have won back your brother

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.
  ‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.
  ‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’
 
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Fraternal correction

All three readings of today speak of the need to correct another person. Often, we find it easier to point out the mistakes of others behind their back. Yet, Jesus calls us to practice fraternal correction. As Prophet Ezekiel points out in the first reading, it is our responsibility to each other that we reach out and work for the good of our brothers and sisters. We must never correct others out of pride and the eagerness to show others their wrongdoings in order to demonstrate our superiority. Correction should be founded in love. The purpose is to show our genuine love for our brothers and sisters and help them grow closer to God and others.
 
To correct others implies that we are open to being corrected by others. As Jesus said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). Let us humbly recognise our brokenness and lack of love in us first so that we can truly love others in their limitations. “Love is the only thing that cannot hurt your neighbour” (2nd reading). Let love lead us.
 
Reflective question:
Do I recognise that fraternal correction is an act of love?
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year A” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.