Not Created To Be Alone

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

September 10, 2023 – 23nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 18:15-20

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“Wherever two or three are gathered … .” You likely know the rest. These words of Jesus remind us of the simple fact that we are not created to be alone. Nor are we to live alone, although we know that close to a third of us do live alone in our primary dwelling. For some this is a choice. For some it is a necessity.

I also noticed that most people seem to drive their cars alone. I rarely do because my wife thinks I might get lost if I drive by myself. I think the same about her. We would qualify to drive in HOV lanes in big cities although where we live in rural Montana, we don’t have those road features. We’re lucky to have two full-size lanes.

Many scholars who have examined our society and values, agree on one clear conclusion: we are a highly individualistic society and culture. Individual rights seem to be more important than societal rights. As a positive, individualism is not necessarily a bad thing because it can also be the foundation for a strong sense of individual responsibility and achievement. And each individual person deserves protection and support when considering the common good. But I see this as creating a tension where individual rights and communal rights can be in conflict. As often happens around certain issues, which I will leave unstated here.

Back to the words of Jesus about being two or three gathered. Where communality happens, even in its smallest form with only two or three involved, there God dwells. But there’s more to it than just a comment about interpersonal life among us. Deep down, this is also an instance of reflecting on God’s own life.

I refer to God’s life as interpersonal, as trinitarian. I fully admit that this understanding of God is a great mystery, yet it can at least be partially known through our experience of loving interpersonal life -- where two or three of us are together, accepting each other as equals and fully human, communicating with honesty to each other in words and actions and helping each other in the many challenging situations which come our way. We provide for each other a great blessing, an opportunity to receive more fully God’s gift of life and to experience in some measure the happiness that will be ours with God and each other up ahead.

Therefore, treasure each moment when we are with one another. Not only are we not humanly alone, but God is also there in the loving spaces between us.   

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