Last Sunday we heard Jesus try to explain to his friends that he would die and on the third day be raised to new life. He walks with the disciples towards Jerusalem, the great holy city, where this will happen. As they walk along, Jesus gives the disciples some instructions.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the brother or sister listens to you, you have regained that one.
Jesus knows that sometimes the disciples do not get along with each other. They love each other, they like doing things together, but sometimes one of them will do something that upsets another. "If your brother or sister sins against you..." Jesus knows this happens.
We know that sometimes when we are playing with our brothers and sisters, they can say something or do something that really bugs us. When this happens, what do we do?
Do we run away and cry?
Do we throw or kick something?
Do we wreck the game we were playing?
Do we hit or bite?
Do we go and tell an adult?
These are all things we could do. But Jesus says,
go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone
The first thing we need to do, Jesus says, is to tell our brother or sister what they have done. Jesus knows that when someone upsets us, we want to run away and cry, throw or kick or wreck something, but Jesus says, first, use your words.
Use our words?
Jesus wants us first to tell the person who upset us what the problem is. Why?
If the brother or sister listens to you, you have regained that one.
"Regained" means to get something back that we used to have.
Before the problem, we played, had fun, and worked together.
Before the problem we could say "I love you."
But, in the middle of a fight, it is hard to remember that we love each other. Jesus tells us that our brother or sister might just listen to us if we tell them what the matter is.
And, if they listen, we will get them back. We can all remember that we love each other. We can go back to playing, and having fun, and working together.
But what if they do not listen? What if they go on making us upset and angry?
But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you
If we try our words but the problem still remains, then it is too big for us alone. We need help. Now it is time to go and get an adult. We want to regain our brother or sister so we can all work together again, but we need someone else to help us sort things out.
Probably we can even do this with friends at school: use our words first, but if the problem remains, go and get some help. Sometimes we need help to make things right. Sometimes an adult or another person will help us—the other person and ourselves—see what we can do to make things right.
“Truly I tell you...where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Perhaps the disciples think this is a strange thing for Jesus to say. Jesus walks right among them on the way to Jerusalem. Of course he is with them. But we know that we cannot see Jesus like the disciples can on the way to Jerusalem. Maybe Jesus says these words for us.
Jesus tells us that if we gather in his name, he is with us. So how do we gather in his name? When we pray together, we begin our prayer by making the sign of the cross—we paint it right on our body—
and we say the words, "In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Who is the Son? Jesus, of course! We pray in his name. And so what happens?
I am there
We use our words to regain our brothers and our sisters and our friends so that we can ALL gather and pray in his name—so that Jesus can be with us.