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Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

5 September 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 18:15-20

I friend of mine, the mother of two young adults, once said this:  I think my kids love to watch “Friends” because the characters in that television show openly confront each other (hilariously, of course) and don’t have any hidden resentments.  But in real life nobody really relates that way, and so my kids leave all kinds of things unsaid, even with each other.  They were so much closer when they were kids, before they learned to hide their feelings.

It’s true, isn’t it?  The challenges of social interactions are so great that many conversations never happen, and decades-long resentments are never voiced, which means true intimacy is never approached.

Jesus knows a thing or two about intimacy, and gives us this bold suggestion: just open your mouth and say what’s on your mind.  Now, this is very risky.  Chances are great that the person whom you want to be closer to, but can’t because of whatever it is that’s bothering you, will listen respectfully, thank you for your “feedback”, and then check you off their list of their most intimate friends because they are inwardly seething.

And that’s where God’s words to Cain, sick with jealousy of his brother Abel, come in handy: Why are you angry? If you act rightly, you will be accepted; but if not, sin lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it (Gen. 4:7).

At moments of great grace, sin crouches at the door.  Honesty is agonizing, but no great marriage or community ever thrived without it.

Have you ever had the grace to let a friend know that you have been hurt by them?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Ordinary Time - Cycle A

2 Comments to “Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A”

  1. I wish that my answer to Kathy’s question were easy. I was raised to not voice my feelings, so there have been so few times that I felt free to do so. That is what has amazed me when reading the Bible. The right words in the right tone always come from the Lord. I don’t seem to have that talent, when I have ever tried to speak my mind, I feel foolish. As I have said before I withdraw and try to fade away when hurt or angry, I have asked the Lord how can I speak out when I really don’t know the hearts and minds of others. So far He hasn’t lead me to the answer. I can speak out for the rights of victims with some grace, just not for myself.

  2. When I was a child, and my feelings were hurt, if I said anything, I was ridiculed and told that I “shouldn’t feel that way.” It took counseling and a number of years to understand that feelings cannot be right or wrong, they are just feelings. As an adult, I am finally able to talk to those who hurt me. The one thing I won’t allow anyone to do is to minimize my feelings.

    I don’t ever tell anyone that they “shouldn’t feel” the way they feel.

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