Saturday, September 9, 2017

Twenty-third Sunday, A: "Tell your brother his fault"

Twenty-third Sunday
Ezekiel 33, 7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13, 8-10;
Matthew 18, 15-20
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We know many who have fallen away from Sunday Mass and others who have never attended. If they do not know Christ we are called to introduce them. We are also in a position at times to share the truth, to let them know the serious sin they commit by choosing to not attend Mass on the Lord's Day. When we become aware that a neighbor has departed from the way of salvation in Christ fraternal correction is the response of one who loves Christ and others.

We can invite others to life in Christ by sharing the gift that is ours in a life of obedience to God.

We do indeed "meet Christ in the liturgy". Learning this truth and living by it, every Catholic can learn to love the liturgy more and to participate in it more deeply, responding to the infinite graces that are present in each Mass. Many, unfortunately, are unaware that an encounter with Christ happens each time the liturgy is offered. Many allow themselves to become bored, are put off by the obligation to attend Mass, and many fall away. Yes, we must attend Mass each week in order to fulfill the commandment to keep the Lord's Day holy, but it is more perfect to do so out of love of God and the desire to praise Him. He is ever worthy of all praise and glory because of He is God. It is our great calling as creatures to find fulfillment and happiness in coming to know and love our Creator,and to worship Him.

The teaching of the Church about the presence of Christ in the Mass, or liturgy, comes from Christ's own teaching. Christ is present in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, really, truly and substantially. The Eucharist is the great sign of the Church and the guarantee of Lord's abiding presence in the Church and in the sacrament.

Christ is also present through the authority of the Church to teach in matters of faith and morals in his name and, as it were, with his own voice. In today's Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses fifteen to twenty, we hear again that the Church has been given Christ's power to bind or loose, to forgive or not forgive sins. All of the Church's faithful enjoy Christ's presence, through the Holy Spirit, while assembled to praise and worship him and to pray in His name. The Catechism helps us in our understanding. Christ, glorified at the right of the Father in heaven, is now present among us in a number of ways, including in the earthly liturgy, or the Mass. "Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, 'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,' but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised 'where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.' " (Mt. 18: 20) (CCC 1088)

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