A special thank you this week to our friends at St. Juliana’s Parish, Chicago, the Perales Family, and St. Joseph’s Parish, Libertyville in the congregation.

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Remember that great famous television comedies like The Honeymooners with the character Ralph Kramden, or on Happy Days with the other character called The Fonz, when I think of the gospel and the theme of reconciliation I often think about those two stories of Ralph Kramden. You know, in almost episode when he tried to grapple and deal with a mistake that he made he would finally have to come to terms with it and say sorry. He’d say, “I’ve got a big mouth.” He would struggle with those words. Or the Fonz, always remaining cool no matter what, but yet he too at certain times had to admit when he was wrong, and to say he was sorry.

We all know the importance of trying to work things out in our own lives, kind of in more serious situations. We know the bad news when we can’t work things out, when we’re in disagreement, when our community … when the love between us is broken. And we know of the good news, when things do work out together, and that’s as we look at the gospel today if we look at the first line and the last line we see the bad news first. Which is the community that’s divided, a brother against another brother, and the end of the gospel shows a community united, where two or three are gathered. Jesus says, “There am I in the midst of them.”

In today’s gospel Jesus is teachings his disciples and important lesson about community, an important lesson about reconciliation. If your brother sins against you, go tell him his faults, between you and him alone. If he listens, you’ve won your brother over, and at the end he encourages us to work things out. To work things out among each other. To not give up on each other. To try to work it out through dialogue. To try to work it out through understanding. To try to work it. To move away from isolation from one another, that often anger and resentment, hurt, can push us into. And rather than these things, to move to better understanding, to reconciliation, to unity, thinking of ourselves within a community, the body of Christ.

Christ is always present in the church, and always calls us in the liturgy to be united with him. To be united with him together as a community. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Well, like Ralph from the Honeymooners, when he figured out, he looked at his wife and he said, “Baby, you’re the greatest.” Or when the Fonz finally figured it out, and he said he too was sorry. He looked at his friends and he said, “Hey.” They knew that they were in Happy Days.