Rev. Hearn

Love your neighbors

Published Sep 9, 2017 at 4:00pm

“Following Jesus’ Instructions for Salvation” Ezekiel 33:7-9, Romans 13:8-10, and Matthew 18:15-20.

Perhaps you have seen the commercial for a security company that shows a man inspecting a family home for termites. The conversation goes something like this:

“Yup, it’s termites”

Husband: “Well, get rid of them”

Response: “Oh, no, I’m not an exterminator, I’m a pest monitor.”

Just then, a young girl comes romping down the stairs and falls through two of the steps.

I don’t think this is what God had in mind when he appointed Ezekiel watchman for the House of Israel. God basically tells Ezekiel he didn’t hire a monitor, he hired a spokesperson. As God’s spokesperson, Ezekiel will be held responsible if he does not care for God’s people as instructed.

By doing what God expects of him, Ezekiel find salvation. Saint Paul’s message to the Romans, and therefore his message to us, is also to do what God expects. St. Paul paraphrases Jesus in telling the people they don’t need to remember all the commandments about how to get along with each other if they remember to love one another.

By being faithful to this great commandment about love, they will in fact, be keeping the commandments passed down to them through Moses.

In our gospel today, Jesus is giving his disciples a primer on how to deal with someone who wrongs them. Basically, all of our texts today lay out for us a right way and a wrong way to go about doing the work of the Lord. Yes, it is our responsibility, like it was for Ezekiel and St. Paul, to bring others to the Lord. We do this by guiding our children down the right path — not so much by words as by our example.

We do this by loving our neighbor regardless of the circumstances. We do this most importantly when we believe we have been wronged, by first lovingly bringing it to a person’s attention, and trying to reconcile.

God’s expectations are not easy. They are downright difficult. Embracing the cross of Christ requires a spiritual stamina that is only possible because Jesus has promised to be ever yoked to us.

We are also promised eternal life. With Ezekiel as our watchman, St. Paul cheering us on and Jesus ever at our side, how can we fail? We dare not, for a lot is at stake, is it not? Not just for us, but for our children and their children, and their children’s children.

Make no mistake about how to love one another — how we treat one another is at the very heart of who we are as faithful servants of the Lord. We need to get this right, and may we say special prayers on the anniversary of 9/11.