In the book ‘The Little Prince’ there is a dialogue between the fox and the little prince, wherein the fox shares this secret with the little prince. “I am going to tell you a little secret. It is a very small secret and it is this, it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
We may miss the message or the secret that the church so deeply desires to convey to us this day if we only use our external eyes to read and external ears to hear the scriptures for the day. The first reading and the Gospel reading for today should be read and understood in the light of the second reading, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The first reading and the Gospel reading is not an injunction to abandon our crisscross neighbor, who has chosen separate ways, but it is a challenge to win him over with love. The power of love can transform the hardest heart. Thanks be to God, when man’s way leads to an hopeless end, God’s way leads to an endless hope. Jesus challenges us to make every possible attempt from our side and not leave a stone unturned to win over the crisscross neighbour.
Jesus lists down three ways to win over the crisscross neighbor.
Firstly, approach and admonish him alone so as to protect his reputation and dignity.
Secondly, admonish the crisscross neighbor with the help of two or three elders.
The third measure of bringing the crisscross neighbor before the community should be exercised only if the aforesaid two measures fail.
The last recourse of excommunication should be exercised by the leader of the community only if all the measures to win over the crisscross neighbor have failed. However, it is the duty of every community to ensure that it does not lose a single member and this is feasible only through effective prayer and love. The love of Jesus reveals a silver lining in the dark clouds and a promise that He will always be present in the smallest of the smallest community consisting of only two or three people.
The Psalmist invites every member of the community to come together into His Holy presence with thanksgiving, making a joyful noise and singing to the Lord. Every community member is a sheep of His Hand and people of His pasture. Hence, the community is summoned to worship and bow down before Him.
Let us reflect on this wonderful hymn with silent awe as we try to fathom the wonderful love of God.
Love it was that made us and it was love that saved us. Love was God's plan when He made man,
God's divine nature is love.
Born of God's love we must love Him, That's why He made us to love Him. But only when we love all men,
Can we partake of God's love
Who is my neighbour? Mother Teresa sagely observed, “If you judge your neighbour, you have no time to love them”.