September 7, 2014 – Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

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Today’s readings suggest something about the difficulties of building and sustaining community. We all belong to various communities – our family, our classroom or workplace, our parish, our neighbourhood – and we know how easily conflicts can arise.

Within the life of a community, there are frequently disagreements or resentment. We may have to find the courage to speak up when problems arise. Sometimes, members of the group may need gentle correction or even firm discipline. “Love your neighbour” is simple enough to say, but very difficult to live! There are times when we may wonder whether harmonious human community is even possible.

If we can keep an open and listening heart, as today’s psalm advises, we will be better able to discern the voice of God in the midst of our messy efforts to live and work together. In the Gospel, Jesus assures us that he is with us in even the smallest gathering “in my name.” While we usually interpret this as referring to gatherings for prayer or worship, our faith tells us that God is present among us in every circumstance of our lives.

Living in our various communities will never be easy. Let us pray for the grace to discern God’s presence at the heart of those communities, encouraging and supporting us in our struggles to love our neighbour as our self.