Daily Reflection
August 16th, 2000
Maureen McCann Waldron
The Collaborative Ministry Office
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Ezekiel 9:1-7; 10:18-22
Psalms 113:1-6
Matthew 18:15-20

"If your brother should commit some wrong against you...."

"Mom!  Do you know what Jack did to me?!"  When my kids were younger they knew exactly what to do when a wrong had been committed against them.  There is something almost enjoyable about clearly being the victim, knowing that retribution of some form is well-deserved.  There is an order to things: first we tell everyone else what happened, then we wait for the guilty one to 'get' what he or she deserves.

But Jesus leads us in a different direction in today's gospel.  He asks us to care -- and care deeply -- for the one who has hurt us.  And the first thing he tells us to do is "to keep it between you."  We can't use this wrong as an opportunity to perfect our role as victim.  We aren't told to run down the reputation of the other, even if it's under the guise of "sharing the pain of our hurt" with a third party.

In a clear departure from our tell-all culture, Jesus asks us to be silent about the wrong against us, except to return to the person who hurt us and talk to him or her.  We are invited to care for that person by talking, discussing the injury privately, trying to resolve our differences.  If the person does not respond, Jesus says we may ask someone else to help moderate it, even bringing it to the church.  Each of these steps is designed not to get our own well-deserved justice, but as a way of caring for the other person.

If none of this works, we are asked to simply avoid that person.  We are not asked to talk about that person or carry the injury or hurt for years.

Today's gospel seems to be asking us to behave in a radically different way.  We are asked to take our role as victim and use it as a special way to care for the one who hurt us, transforming not only the injury, but ourselves.  As humans we are bound to be at both ends of committing hurts.  Wouldn't this be a wonderful guideline for life when we are the ones who inevitably will have hurt someone else?

In the end, Jesus invites us to prayer, especially to gather together for prayer.  Could it be that we are invited to pray with and for the one who hurt us?  How different our lives and our world would be if we could accept such an invitation from Jesus! 

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Online Ministries
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts
from the
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts
from the
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office 
Home Page
University Ministry
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook