I can’t count the number of times that someone has wronged or offended me, so I go tell others about that. In the moment, it’s so much easier to go and talk about someone rather than to go and speak to that person. In the long run, however, failing to speak directly to someone—whether it’s because the other hurt me, or I hurt the other, does more harm. I think that one of the inspired tenets of twelve-step recovery programs is step nine, when one person goes to another to make amends. In the end, when I’m honest, the question I need to ask myself is whether or not I love someone enough to be honest, and whether I am humble enough to accept that I may be wrong. That truly is what it’s all about, and I’m convinced that it underlies the Gospel passage we hear. In the end, it all revolves around Jesus’ teaching on loving one another, that Paul so eloquently restates in this weekend’s second reading, from his letter to the Church in Rome: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Over and over and over again I need to hear those words, and to put them into practice, in all my relations. Love is what enables me to humble myself before another. It is what gives me the strength and the courage to say, “You hurt me” to another. It is what underlies any true Christian community.
This week we have the opportunity to experience love in two quite different circumstances. This Tuesday we honour and celebrate Holy Name of Mary parish. For some 95 years, Holy Name was a parish, with a rich history, and a community bound together by love: love for God, love for the parish, and love for one another. Now so many “Holy Namers” enrich Assumption parish with their presence, their service, and their care for the community. I hope we have a great turnout for our Mass, followed by a potluck dinner on September 12.
Then on Friday, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we show love in a different way. The Church says “I’m sorry; I was wrong,” to victims of clergy sex abuse. I am deeply grieved when I think about how many people over many, many years have been hurt because of the actions of clergy. People who represented God and the Church betrayed the trust that people placed in them. It is an act of love to recognize our wrongs and to make amends in any way we can—and to pray for healing.