Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 10, 2023

In this Sunday’s readings, we heard that our Lord gives us the responsibility to be our brothers’ keeper. He reminds us of the spiritual responsibility and accountability that every one of us has towards others. Parents and caregivers are accountable for the welfare of their loved ones. Equally, lawyers are responsible and made accountable for their clients. Doctors are responsible and made accountable for their patients. Police Officers are responsible and made accountable for their actions of upholding the law. In each occupation, there is responsibility and accountability required of every person. From the Book of Ezekiel, we heard God command ing us to speak on His behalf. As Christians, we must warn the wicked or sinner to turn away from their sinful ways so that they may be saved from spiritual death. If the sinners ignore our pleas to repent, they will suffer eternal condemnation. Their condemnation will not be because of us; it will be because of their own free choice of having embraced their evil ways, or for rejecting the grace of God present in us when we warned them. But us, we have the assurance that we will receive our reward for being obedient to the Lord God as His messengers for others.

Jesus teaches us to be responsible and accountable for others' spiritual wellbeing and salvation in today's Gospel. This responsibility includes correcting our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are in error.

First, we are obligated to privately approach the sinner so we will not publicly humiliate him or her. If the sinner has sincerely repented, praise God and maintain that privacy afterwards. If the sinner remains indifferent, we have an obligation to meet again, but this time with two or three witnesses. If the individual refuses to listen to all, we are commanded to tell it to the church. And if the offender still refuses to listen, even to the church, let that person be to us as a Gentile and a tax collector. For the Jewish people, the Gentiles and the tax collectors were not well accepted and avoided.

Why did Jesus say to disassociate from them? It is because when we put a bad fruit among good fruits, the bad fruit corrupts the others. If everyone is indifferent to the sin of one person, that sin becomes acceptable to the rest, so that soon or later all of us may be committing the same sin.

While some may be hesitant to speak up against the sins of others, saying, “It is none of my business.” The term, “It’s none of my business.” It is not biblical, nor is it acceptable in the practice of the Christian life this. According to God, we need to correct others with love, care, and respect. We have to do it because it is our responsibility and they are children of God, who need to reach salvation, too.

This week, let us take some time to reflect on our responsibility towards God. We should consider how we will answer to God for the actions of those in our life, including family, friends, and coworkers. Let us do what we must do so that when we appear before God on the Judgment Day, we can repeat the words of Jesus on John 17, 12: “Not one of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.”