CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 19TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: PROCESSES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Ezek 9 : 1 – 22, Matt 18 : 15 -20.
Conflicts have an uncanny way of rocking the boat of Christian Spirituality and stirring the sea billows making a Christian unable to pray and commune effectively with his/ her God. This is why our Master, Jesus Christ devotes one of his teaching series in today’s gospel on how to acquire the skill for conflict resolution. He knows that as long as we are here on earth, we are bound to have quarrels and disagreements with people.
Jesus sets the following 3 processes for conflict resolution;
1. PRIVATE STAGE: At the initial stage of provocation, the individual is advised to meet/ dialogue with his/her offender. This privacy when approached humbly can heal the wounded hearts very quickly and enhance better understanding.
2. SEMI PRIVATE STAGE: When the private dialogue fails, Jesus advice’s that we seek the assistance of not more than two or three others, preferably persons very close to the two quarrelling parties who can see things from their own perspectives and who can help make the quarrelling parties sheath their swords without much escalation of acrimonies.
3. PUBLIC STAGE: This is the stage when the other two have failed when the Church leaders are expected to seat as judges to look into cases between believers in the spirit of the gospel. This is to prevent unnecessary legal/ police cases which seldom bring peace between the quarrelling parties.
Reconciliation is always the watchword in every disagreement between believers. War and acrimonies are always distractive tools in the hands of our enemy, the devil. St Paul warned : ‘Even if you are angry, do not sin and do not let the sun set on your anger…Do not give the devil an opportunity’, Eph 4 : 24 – 30. Believers must be determined in moments of quarrel with their neighbours never to give the devil the opportunity by doing the following;
1. Controlling one’s temper so that you do not utter destructive statements that will provoke conflict.
2. Listening to the other’s point of view especially at the semi private stage of reconciliation.
3. Ability to SAY SORRY and to HEAR SORRY. Some find it extremely difficult to say sorry when they have wronged others while some find it even more difficult to hear sorry when others have wronged them.
May the Lord protect us from unnecessary quarells and disagreements among ourselves!