A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Carlos & Marieanne Porras for August 16th, 2023

The Gospel, according to Matthew (18:15-20) 

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.”

REFLECTION: Jesus is telling us today that where two or more people get together in His name, He is there.  So, whatever we pray for will happen, right? Certainly not!  

The key to understanding this passage is found in the last line of today’s Gospel, “…there am I in the midst of them.” This means that the goal of gathering together with two or more people in prayer is to unite our unified prayer with the prayer of Jesus.  

Our Heavenly Father always hears and answers the prayer of the Son. No matter what the Son asks the Father, it is granted. Thus, this passage tells us that the goal of gathering together in prayer with others, that is, with the Church, is to unite ourselves with the one and eternal prayer of God the Son. This is first and foremost fulfilled within the Sacred Liturgy.  

When we come together in the Liturgy, our prayer is always heard. Why? Because the Liturgy is first, an action of God the Son, in which He invites us, the Church, to share. And the prayer that is offered is the one and eternal prayer by which God the Son asks the Father to bring salvation to all those who accept the saving action of His sacrifice on the Cross. When we join in this prayer, it is granted.   

Perhaps the best way to pray together in this way is to pray the “Our Father” prayer with another. This prayer is always heard and answered by the Father since it is the prayer given to us by the Son. However, let us understand that though our Lord always answers our prayers, it may not be exactly what we ask for, but rather, He will always give us what He knows we need.    

ACTION FOR THE DAY: Reflect, today, on ways in which you can join with others to unite your own prayer to the prayer of the Son of God. Do this first and foremost in the Sacred Liturgy, but look for other ways in which you can practice this form of prayer. Praying together with others in union with the one prayer of Jesus will always be answered by the Father in Heaven.


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