“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.
“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”
In our schools and colleges all over the country, students, teachers and support staff are just beginning a new year. We are making new friendships and working relationships, and refreshing old ones. Some of us will be making a brand new start in a different place, but for everyone, September gives us the opportunity for a fresh start.
Today’s Gospel gives us some great advice for starting anew. Misunderstandings and clashes will happen this year. Maybe there are even some problems we haven’t cleared up last term. Listening to each other is one of the most important things we can do. We need to be open with each other, and trust that God will help us to reconcile any differences we have. We need to be pre[pared to hear out others who don’t agree with us, and to try our best to work things out with them. We need to support each other in facing problems and we need to accept when we need to ask God for forgiveness.
Sharing prayer is a vital element of Catholic education, and this passage reminds us that whenever we come together to ask for God’s help, he is with us; he is listening’ and he is ready to work with us.
Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesians, wanted learning. prayer, fun and love to be equally important in every young person’s experience of education. Let us pray for his help in making 2017-18 a happy and productive year for all of us.
Salesian Communications Worker
As we begin a new academic year,
Help us to be open and honest with each other;
To do our very best;
To ask for help when we need it,
and to give help when it’s asked of us;
To share our worries with God and with each other;
To fully open our hearts when we come together in prayer.