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Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

12 September 2020

Reflecting on Matthew 18: 15-20

Let’s be honest. Sometimes one person—-our boss, maybe—will come to us in private and try to correct us in a chronic behavior we have that is making the workplace difficult, or making it harder for our peers to complete their work successfully. We might nod courageously and agree that, gosh, now that this has been pointed out we are going to be ever so much better.

But I don’t think we actually believe that we are the problem. Even as the boss is talking, we’re shutting her out. And when our behavior doesn’t change, and she brings a few co-workers to tell us that they, too, have the same problem with us, we are astounded—silently—that these people whom we thought were so smart have turned out to be as clueless as the boss. Don’t they see how nuanced we are, how creative we are, and, well, how much smarter we are than they?

That’s the problem with following Jesus’ exhortation about resolving conflicts. If we were spiritually disciplined enough to take correction and change our behavior, chances are we wouldn’t have that problem to begin with. A whole army of friends could stage an intervention, and we’d roll our eyes and stalk away. Time to get some new friends.

My new rule is that if I ever feel ganged up on, or bewildered about why friends seem to fade away, I immediately do the most counter-intuitive thing. I assume that I am causing the problem. I may not see it today, but tomorrow will be so much easier if I take responsibility now for what I may not clearly see for another ten years.

When have you adjusted your behavior based on the correction of others?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Ordinary Time - Cycle A

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