Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Recipe for Disaster or Source of Reconciliation?

It's our Gospel Reading for today. It contains a system for resolving differences.

The mission of reconciliation can only be successful if the Church is fully united. As a former Protestant (now Catholic), I read the passage below and say to myself I know which church Our Lord is referring to here. In order for this passage to ring true, there can only be one Source. But there are enough denominations out there, with so many different views, that a disgruntled party can find some faith community that will side with them regardless of the position. Likewise, the "opponent" can go to another faith community that will side with them. That's the problem with the passage. It cannot work, unless there is one Source. One well of wisdom.

Consider today's Reading and ask yourself this question: If God didn't intend for the Church to have one deposit of faith (rather than many denominations with differing viewpoints) how can this passage ring true? Either the Bible is pie-in-the-sky wrong about this, or there is one Church with one voice in order to provide a source of reconciliation for all couples, all businesses, every parent and child, every brother or sister, for everyone.

As it is, with 33,000 denominations in the United States alone, you can find some faith community to support almost anything. Look hard enough, and you'll find some faith leader more than happy to side with you.

So, which church is it?

Matthew 18:15-20 (New American Standard Bible)
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.

Here's the American version:
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, great. If he does not listen to you, gossip about him to all your friends. If he still doesn't listen to you, well, good luck with that. Try taking him to court.


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