In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
In other words, when we see something wrong with our brother or sister. Take the least offensive approach and speak to them first. This removes the possibility of humiliating them in public. If they still persist, then bring along a wise folk or two as additional witnesses to this. And if that fails, then bring in the authorities. As the homilist reminds us, once the authorities come in on a judgement, no one wins. All parties are losers.
The idea is that correction is to bring about the salvation of the soul and not for punishment or revenge. Love has to be a big ingredient in this discourse.
In my own reflection, humility also is important is this endeavour. We need to be able to humble ourselves and not “talk down” to someone that needs correction. And to be able to empathise on why they chose that path in the first place.
So let us bear these in mind for the times we need to do the right thing to correct someone. For God says in Ezekiel 33: 7-9 “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.