Failures bring healing
I had been a youth minister for eight years when I got married. As a single man my ministry was my life. All my plans were based on the requirements of my job.
When I got married, my life took on a new focus, and I had a tough time transitioning from my job being my life to it being just one aspect of my new life.
This became abundantly clear one afternoon during my first year of marriage when a parent cornered me and let me know how I had let her son down. He had recently lost his best friend in a tragic accident, and I had not called on him to see how he was doing and to offer my support.
September 7, 2008
in Ordinary Time
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Naturally it was very hard to hear this, but she was right. I had not done my best to minister to this student in his time of need.
This incident caused me to wonder if youth ministry was the right job for me now that I was married. Could I handle the demands of ministry and marriage? Could I juggle my personal and professional responsibilities?
Now I am in my 23rd year of youth ministry, and I am a much better youth minister because of that very tough conversation 14 years ago. It is this kind of community correction that Jesus speaks of in today's Gospel when he says, "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."
It was not so much that I sinned against this family by failing to do my job, but that an inadequacy was pointed out and I grew because of it. My failure was brought to my attention, and as a result I experienced healing.
The words of Jesus in this Gospel are not meant to bring pain and division in a community. Rather, they are a call for the Christian community to be agents of healing for each other. As Jesus says later in the same Gospel: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
And where Jesus is, so too is healing.
This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort
This week's readings
Week of September 7 - 13, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Ez 33:7-9
Reading II: Rom 13:8-10
Gospel: Mt 18:15-20
Monday, September 8, 2008
Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading I: Mi 5:1-4a or Rom 8:28-30
Gospel: Mt 1:1-16, 18-23 or 1:18-23
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, priest
Reading I: 1 Cor 6:1-11
Gospel: Lk 6:12-19
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Reading I: 1 Cor 7:25-31
Gospel: Lk 6:20-26
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Reading I: 1 Cor 8:1b-7, 11-13
Gospel: Lk 6:27-38
Friday, September 12, 2008
Reading I: 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22b-27
Gospel: Lk 6:39-42
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the Church
Reading I: 1 Cor 10:14-22
Gospel: Lk 6:43-49
Pope's Prayer Intentions
September General Intention
Refugees. That Christians may defend and protect refugees.
September Mission Intention
Christian Families. That every Christian family may be a small evangelizing community which is responsive to the needs of others.
Prayers for Those Suffering from the Floods
Diocese of Madison
God of Mercy,
Look kindly on us in our suffering.
Ease our burdens and make our faith strong
That we may always have confidence and trust
In your fatherly care.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.
From the Sacramentary, Masses for Various Needs: For Any Need (B)
God our Father,
you set the earth on it foundations
and separated the land from the water.
Look upon all affected by this flood.
Ease their suffering, strengthen their faith,
and increase their love of you and neighbor.
Inspire all people of good will
to serve you by serving others
so that, from the darkness of this disaster,
the light of Christ may shine even more brightly in the world,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
Prayer to St. Raphael
Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.
We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.
We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.