Dear Parishioners of St. James:
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Jesus brings up a touchy subject this Sunday in the Gospel. How should you correct someone who has sinned against you? When you think of all the subjects the Son of God brought up during His public ministry it might seem odd that He spent time on how to correct another person. But since He is God Himself, we must take a deeper look at what He is teaching us.
We are all in the mission of salvation together. God has willed that our salvation depends on others and others’ salvation depends on us. Since we sin in the presence of others, we are obliged to help others toward salvation by correcting them properly. Jesus commands us to “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Mt. 18:15). It takes courage to correct another person who sins against you. It is even more difficult to correct them privately.
Are we not guilty of telling other people about how someone has wronged us before we tell the person himself in person? Jesus wants us to save the other person by bringing their sin to their attention with great discretion. Private correction preserves us from the sin of detraction (which reveals the true but otherwise hidden fault of another). If we correct a person and he receives the correction Jesus says that we have won over our brother. Even if the person does not receive the correction well, we still will have done our duty. Remember, correction is not done because you have been wronged. Sin offends God first. Correction brings the sweet balm of repentance to the offender and merciful reward to the brave person who loved his brother enough to care about his salvation.
God bless you,