Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does 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 he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him 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.”
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”
This is the phrase that I want to share with you today. “If your brother sins”. Who does Jesus call brother?
The one who shares the same faith that I have, the one who has been redeemed by the same blood for which I was redeemed. He is my brother because he was born of the same love from which I was born: the love of the cross.
The first reason to consider him a brother is that God has loved him in a perfect and glorious way, he is precious before God.
“if your brother sins’ says the Lord. This means that sin is something visible, it is something that our eyes can discern.
Jesus shows us in this text that sin is something that is seen, and that this visible sin has to be corrected. Now, how is one to correct? “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” Jesus says alone.
Tell him means you must attach the sin, the expression you and him alone, is an expression of trust, in private. This indicates an act of charity; we are trying to preserve the good name, the honor of the person, so that evil does not transcend, this is love. Perhaps you have heard the beautiful phrase of St. Augustine:
“Love the sinner and hate the sin“.
But the Lord says: “go and tell him.” The Bible often uses the word rebuke here. Rebuking is a powerful word; rebuking is indicating that we point out what is wrong. Evil doesn’t need praise; it doesn’t need a mask. What is wrong is wrong. The person may reject it. That is why Jesus says that if he doesn’t listen to you, you have to follow a process. Take one or two with you, tell the whole Church. The person can reject what you have brought to light, but sin is sin, and the first ones who have the clarity in this are us.
St. Pius X said: ” Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” That is the light that we Christians have to bring into this world; today, in our world, these clarities do not exist. Today, everything can be justified. Many people call evil what is good, and right what is evil.
We have a responsibility; we have a task here. We have to rebuke with love and care and think about the good of the person, but we must rebuke. We stop rebuking; we are betraying the good that God has brought into our lives.
Then He says, “If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.” There is only one who heals and saves. There is only one who is God and who has given us his Son, Jesus Christ. So what does “you have won over your brother” mean? We don’t replace Christ. This means that when we do His work well, we are part of Christ; we are ministers of Christ. We are the hands of Christ extended to rescue lost sheep. Today you receive a deep and beautiful invitation. Sin can be identified; it can be overcome; it can be removed; you and I have been called to Holiness.