Reflection on the Gospel–23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (Matthew 18:15-20)

What does a just society or community do with its persistent offenders, with those whose behaviour continually disrupts or even destroys the unity of a group? This is an age old question that has no easy answer. The people of South Africa in the wake of apartheid and Timor Leste after twenty-five years of oppression recognised that a too easy amnesty is no solution for violent and destructive behaviour. Offences need to be named and acknowledged by their perpetrators for the sake of community reconciliation and for building the trust essential to the creation of a new future.