No one is saved alone!
This week’s Gospel reading challenges us to have difficult conversations. Conversations that we often avoid because we don’t want to hurt feelings, lay blame, or judge. Jesus reminds us that “whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This is dependent on how we interact with one another especially during times of conflict or anger. Jesus shares with us how to address this in the context of community. If you are able to deal with it privately, then you should. However, often our actions are far reaching into the community whether we would like to admit it or not. We should work as community to right our wrongs when we can, so that we can maintain our relationships. Praying in community is how we will ensure that we keep our gaze fixed on Christ. We are blessed to have diverse communities that brings many different perspectives. When we are able to pray together, we can bring all of the gifts of the community together and offer glory to God. It is in this context that we truly grow in our vocation always maintaining the dignity of others in the forefront of all that we say and do. In this manner we grow individually and in communion with one another.
Pope Francis tells us in an interview in 2013 “No one is saved alone, as an isolated individual, but God attracts us looking at the complex web of relationships that take place in the human community. God enters into this dynamic, this participation in the web of human relationships.” How do we safeguard this sacred space of community?
We have been reading about how Jesus is preparing to live his passion; and as the end draws near, he is becoming more explicit in “instructions” on how to live in community. He understands that he won’t be with his disciples much longer, and he needs to be clear and intentional at this point. Nothing is more important in our lives than community; how we are in relationship with each other will determine our relationship with God. Jesus knows that in community we will have our greatest joys as well as our greatest struggles, and so it is important that we understand how to resolve conflict as well as how to lift each other up. When we truly give witness to the faith, there is a foundational understanding that every person is a child of God and created in His image. This translates to Jesus urging us to remember that through experiences of conflict, hurt, anger, betrayal, maintaining the human dignity of others is imperative. When we feel we cannot do it all, Jesus encourages us to seek help from others and from the Church. We are never alone!
Knowing all of this, we will naturally have questions. What is our community and how do we fit into it? What role do we play? How will we best serve our community; how will we best use our gifts and talents for the betterment of the whole community. We have many opportunities to form community as Christians. We have our families, we have our friends, our work, our faith communities; these are all opportunities to serve. Just as Jesus was intentional about giving us tools to work together, we too should be intentional about how we live in community and serve one another.
By Serena Shaw – Oblate Associate
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