23 Ordinary Time
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - A Cycle - Matthew 18:15-20
The Second Coming was history. The saved were partying in heaven. Missing was Jesus. Peter found Him at Heaven's gate. "Master, come for a glass of Dom Perignon." He replied, "Cephas, I'm waiting for Judas."
Abraham Lincoln said that only he has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.
A fellow crosses the street at the orange caution light. The traffic cop stops him. He discovers he is a fellow Irishman. Gently he says, "Your color like mine is green." The perp gets back on the curb. The light turns green. The man walks across. As he passes him, the cop says with a smile, "We don't give an Orangeman a chance around here." (Arthur Tonne)
To correct others well, when our responsibility. is an art form in rare supply. The day of Orwell's Big Brother and equally Big Sister are here. Who has not been bruised by authority figures? Each of us has left scars on others. Some were inflicted on family and friends. As the psychiatrist attests for $200 in his forty-five minute hour, the scars last. Our words inflict wounds for life. When our temper gets the best of us, it reveals the worst of us. It is better to bite your tongue than to have a biting tongue. Besides, the sins of others are before our eyes. Our own are behind our back. (Unknown)
Henry James was asked the three most important rules in the world. He replied, "The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind."
The cop has much to teach us. He was not humiliating the pedestrian. Rather, he was emphasizing gently but firmly that he must cross on the green and not in between. He did not make a federal case out of the incident. He surrounded his reprimand with such good humor the guilty party could not fault it. The cop didn't find a fault; he found a remedy.
Mind what you say or you might say whatever comes to mind. (Unknown)
The policeman subscribed to Fulton Sheen's insight, "While it is possible to win the argument, your anger may lose the war." His intent was not to win a battle but to win over the offender. The cop believed that society is improved one life at a time.
Kindness is a language that the dumb can speak and the deaf understand. Correction does much. Encouragement does much more. It is sun to the soul. One word of praise can speak volumes. The smallest word of encouragement today is better than the largest intention to compliment tomorrow. Encouragement is oxygen for the soul. People who say something is unforgivable should get out of the way of people who forgive. (Unknown)
We do well to bring others up short with the same gentleness that we would hope they and God Himself would use on our dishonorable selves. A Persian proverb says a gentle hand may lead an elephant with a single thread. May ours be that gentle hand.
Putting others down should be but a portion of the punishment. For the Christian, the dressing down should be accompanied with forgiveness and, as Lincoln advised, the offer to help the other start again.
Count the number of people who encourage you. Don't worry. It won't take long. Then count the number of people you encourage. That won't take long either. We tell people to have a nice day, but we are reluctant to make it a nice day for them by paying a compliment or encouraging them. Why is that? Even Sigmund Freud could not answer that query. However, Freud would tell us our friendly neighborhood cop looked upon the guilty party as if he was what he ought to be. Thus, he helped him become what he should have been from the start.
So, the message on the couch pillow correctly reads, "Praise loudly and blame softly."
Jesus looked upon people and saw not terminal cases. Rather, He felt each had a shot at salvation. You cannot find anyplace in the Gospels where Jesus nixed somebody's plea for help.
If Christ won't give up on even on Judas, should we give up on people? He would be the first to advise us, "Never turn your back on any person. Miracles happen every day." Sometimes, the miracles are even worked by Christ through our encouraging words.
Ben Franklin tells us when we point a long bony finger at someone, there are three other bony fingers pointing at ourselves. Besides, love your enemies, for only they will tell you your faults.
Cold words freeze people. Hot words scorch them. Angry words make them angry. Kind words comfort them. (Blaise Pascal)