This past Sunday's Gospel reading was one that definitely hit home for me, but also one that I feel many of us struggle with.
Fraternal correction is an act of charity (CCC 1829), in which we call a brother or sister in Christ, who has fallen into serious sin, back to the way of the Gospel. It is a responsibility that we have to help lead our brothers and sisters in Christ to Heaven.
During the homily the priest gave a humourous yet beautiful story.
A mother in India was struggling with her young son who was always overeating on sweets. She knew this was bad for his health and wanted to get him to stop, but nothing seemed to work. She felt that maybe if she brought the boy to see Ghandi and he told him to stop eating so many sweets, the boy would listen. She went and Ghandi told her to come back with the boy in two weeks.
They returned in two weeks and Ghandi asked the boy to stop overeating on sweets. To her surprise the boy accepted and promised to stop. The mother approached Ghandi afterwards and asked, "Why couldn't you have asked him this two weeks ago? Why make me make this trip twice?"
Ghandi answered, "Two weeks ago I ate too many sweets."
I chuckled when I heard the ending to the story but at the same time I feel it brings a very important aspect that we tend to miss when it comes to correcting our brothers and sister's in Christ.
Do we strive to correct our own lives first? It is soo easy to see where a friend or family member has gone wrong because we look at their lives from a third perspective. Because of this, many times we fail to see our own shortcomings and choose to focus on the shortcomings of those around us.
Doing this self-check doesn't make us better equipped or in a higher place, but what it does is make us more humble. It reminds us that we too need correction once in a while and helps us approach our brothers and sisters in Christ through love and honesty.