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September 7, 2014: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sacred Heart Grove at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, October 2012

Talk to God about good ways to handle change. (Photo: Sacred Heart Grove at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your sister or brother sins against you, go and talk about the fault between with that person alone. If they listen to you, you have a win-win situation.
If they do not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If they refuse to listen to then, tell the church. If they refuse to listen even to the church, then treat them as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:15-20)

Reflection:

September! Everyone whoever started at a new school – kindergarten through University knows the scared feelings of new beginnings: “Will I fit in? Will they like me? What are the teachers like? Will I be able to do the work? ”

All of the September, 2014 Sunday readings can be looked at as Jesus instructions for dealing with change.

This Sunday the epistle, Paul’s letter to the Romans, quotes the Golden Rule–The basic moral teaching of all the great world religions. “treat the people you are rubbing elbows with as you would want to be treated”– everyone: your parents, friends, sisters and brothers, kids who don’t fit in, your teacher, the bus driver, crossing guard, police officers, store clerks – everyone!

In the Gospel, Jesus gives the advice that everyone hates to follow, which if followed, usually goes the best of all: “if someone is bugging you, go to the person first and talk to them about the problem.”

Don’t complain about their behavior to anyone except God. Go and face the person. Of course, it’s a really good idea to pray and think about how to say your complaint. If you write down your complaint ahead of time and imagine someone saying it to you. You might see it a different way. God can help you to feel peace.

Action:

Cut yourself some slack. There are a lot of changes in September: end of summer, different weather, different activities. Talk to God about good ways to handle change. Talk to one other person about a change you find difficult and listen.

Reach out to someone who is having trouble with change and help her or him; or tell them about your trouble with change and listen.

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Sister Mary Moloney

Sister Mary Moloney, a sister of Providence since 1960, grew up in Chicago. Sister Mary taught math and science and also was campus minister at Indiana University. She recently moved to the motherhouse in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods after thirty years of ministry in Oklahoma.

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