In the first reading, God warns Ezekiel, the one appointed as the watchman of the People of Israel that if he does not warn the wicked to stop doing his foolishness, he too, will be punished. Both of them will die. If he does his job, he will not die, even if the wicked does not listen.

St. Paul in the second reading encourages the Christians in Rome to love one another. They can show their love by keeping the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). When this is done, there is no need to correct one another.

The readings of this Sunday are on our courage to seek and speak the truth.  One of the hardest things to do is to correct an erring brother or sister. This is especially so when it concerns one’s own loved ones to whom we are closest. We are afraid that he or she might react and get back at us. Do you ever realise that this fear means that the bond that we have between us is not strong?

Jesus teaches how fraternal correction can be done. First of all, it is not done in public but in private. Jesus is aware that if it’s done in public, nothing will happen. Second, if the first attempt fails, we can ask for help from two or three others who have the same observation. Third, if the brother or sister still does not listen, we ask for help from the church or community. When he or she does still not listen then we give the person an ultimatum.

This fraternal correction requires courage, right timing, and the right place. It must be done with love and delicateness. We cannot build our community if we allow savage truths to be expressed as it will only create trouble. The purpose of fraternal correction is to be reconciled with those who offend us and to be reunited with them.

Written by: Corrine