“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
If two or three are gossiping over coffee after Mass one day, are they gathered in Jesus’ name? Pope Francis warns us that they are not, since the self-satisfied and judgmental spirit that underlies most gossip undermines the love of Jesus, who died to save the very person about whom others gossip. To gather in the Lord’s name, it is not enough to just use his name, since “not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).
To gather in the name of Jesus means to come together in obedience to his call without being ashamed of his words, ready to take up the cross that Jesus offers us, for the salvation of the world. Following the Lord’s command in today’s gospel, how may we allow ourselves to become such people and invite others to the same reconciliation that God offers?
O God, who call us into the freedom of the children of God, teach us to desire the life that Jesus offers and to never be ashamed of his words. Help us to call upon the name of Jesus and to do so with our whole being, in sincerity and truth, so that when two or three of us are gathered in his name, your work of reconciliation may be accomplished among us. We ask this, truly, in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
—Fr. Sylvester Tan, SJ