Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, 10th September 2023

‘You must love your neighbour as yourself’

The theme of listening runs through today’s readings. We are to listen to the word of God, to our hearts, to one another, and to our community. We are challenged truly to love one another, speaking out where necessary. Just as Jesus became our brother and made himself responsible for us, he asks that we do the same.

God appoints Ezekiel as his sentry: a mouthpiece to sound a warning when danger appears. We, too, are to be on the look out, helping one another rather than simply looking on. (First Reading)

The Gospel echoes this. Jesus tells us what to do when things go wrong in relationships within a community. We should try to work things out one-to-one, then invite those we can trust to advise, and finally ask the community, bringing back those who stray. Jesus asks us not to give up on people, even when they do not listen to us.

In the Second Reading St Paul emphasizes that it is love that underpins all our relationships. The ten commandments are summed up in the phrase ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.

The Psalm of praise urges us to listen to the Lord with open hearts.

Today we also celebrate the first Sunday in the season of creation.
As we embrace the beauty of God’s Kingdom, we pray for the grace to be good neighbours to each other and to the whole of creation, restoring and caring for all that God has made.