Healing the wounded community

In Father Michael Whelan's homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, he reflects on the Gospel text from Matthew chapter 18, verses 15 through 20. He begins by noting that in our modern times, we often have an individualistic mindset, thinking in terms of 'I' and 'me.' Father Whelan suggests that this individualism has seeped into the Church, affecting our understanding of what it means to be a Christian, especially in how we perceive and deal with sin.

He emphasizes that in Matthew's time and in tribal societies, the instinctive perspective was communal; people thought in terms of 'we' and 'us.' This communal mindset extends to the Church, which is not a human invention but a community brought into being by God's love. Father Whelan describes Christians as pilgrims, constantly on a journey called by God. In this context, Matthew's guidance on dealing with sin takes on a communal perspective, where the community is responsible for initiating the healing process when an individual has violated it. This process involves seeking reconciliation privately and respecting the sensitivities of the offender to prevent public humiliation. Ultimately, Father Whelan underscores the importance of humility and recognizes that those who seek to heal the community must also acknowledge their own need for healing, becoming 'wounded healers' in the process.

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09 September 2023

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