The sign “The Buck Stops Here’’ was on President Harry S. Truman’s desk in his White House office. When I checked the meaning, I found out that the “responsibility for something cannot or should not be passed to someone else.” This weekend readings invite us to reflect on our responsibility as a disciple of Christ.
In the first reading the Lord said to Ezekiel, “You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.” What the watchman or security is supposed to do – care for their people. They were in Babylonian exile and the prophet exists like a watchman only for the good of others. He is to give them God’s words, to challenge them, and to correct them from time to time.
In the Gospel, Jesus instructs us on the responsibility of the disciple of Christ. The Gospel of Matthew 18:1-20 is followed by the parable of the lost sheep (10-14). In that parable, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in the hill and goes in search of the lost sheep. Today’s Gospel Jesus gives us, as a church and as an individual Christian to look for our sisters and brothers. In the book of Leviticus 19:17 we read, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourselves, lest you too be tempted.”
The second reading summarizes both readings, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Being a watchman of our brother and sister is an overwhelming responsibility. The word “watch” means to guard and protect. When the LOVE involved then it becomes easier. For example, parents, look after their children. They watch their children grow, mature, and strike out on their own. I call it, it is their love journey. Once India President Abdul Kalam who was an aerospace scientist, was asked, “what was his greatest accomplishment in life?” He replied that basically he is a teacher when his student completes his/her doctorate, he sees it as his greatest accomplishment. We can be a watchman in so many different ways. Being watchman, as Church, as an individual Christian- parent, teacher, and so on.
As Church, and as a disciple of Christ, the salvation of us and others should be the greatest concern. James 5: 19-20 says, “My brothers if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone brings him back, he should know that whoever brings him back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sin.” It starts from the family, spread through the Church and community, and conquers the world. Jesus explains in the Gospel how important that we are there for one another. We come together to celebrate the Eucharist, share from the same plate and chalice the love and life of Christ and send out to proclaim the good news of oneness – being one in Christ.
Jesus Christ brought the gift of reconciliation and life through his passion, death, and resurrection. Today’s readings confront us with two aspects of the question. First, each one of us is called to conversion. Second, each one of us is the keepers of our sister and brother.