Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent – 22 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 4 Kings 4:1-7, Matthew 18:15-22
“Cleanse me from my unknown faults, O Lord! From wanton sin especially, restrain Your servant. Let it not rule over me. Then, shall I be blameless and innocent of serious sin.” – Psalm 18:13-14
“If your brother sins against you,
go and show him his fault,
between you and him alone.
If he listens to you,
you have won your brother.”
“HE DOES NOT SAY, “accuse him,” or “punish him,” or “take him to court.” He says “correct him. ” For he is possessed, as it were, by some stupor and drunk in his anger and disgrace. The one who is healthy must go to the one who is sick. You must conduct your judgement of him privately. Make your cure easy to accept. For the words “correct him” mean nothing other, than help him see his indiscretion. Tell him what you have suffered from him.
WHAT THEN IF he does not listen, if he stubbornly flares up? Call to your side someone else or even two others, so that two witnesses may corroborate all that’s said. For the more shameless and boldfaced he is, so much the more must you be earnest toward his cure, not toward satisfying your anger and hurt feelings. For when a physician sees the sickness unyielding, he does not stand aside or take it hard but then is all the more earnest. That then is what Christ orders us to do. You appeared too weak since you were alone, so become stronger with the help of others. Two are sufficient to reprove the wrongdoer.
DO YOU SEE how He seeks the interest, not of the aggrieved party alone but also that, of the one who caused the grief? For the person injured may be the one who is more taken captive by passion. He becomes the one that is diseased and weak and infirm.
THIS EFFORT MAY OCCUR many times, as he attempts to lead him first alone and then with others. If he persists, then make the effort with the whole congregation. “Tell it,” He says, “to the Church.” If He had sought the interest of the aggrieved alone, He would not have told him to approach the sick individual seventy-seven times. He would not have attempted so many times, or brought so many treatments to the malady. He might have just let him be, if he persisted uncorrected from the first meeting. But instead, He shows us how to seek his cure once, twice and many times: first alone, then with two, then with many more.” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 60).