BRIDGEPORT–In his weekly online Mass celebrated from the Catholic Center chapel Bishop Frank j. Caggiano said the need to speak the truth may often be seen as judgmental in our society, but if done in love, it can help lead others closer to God.
“In a politically correct world, actions cannot be judged… In the world of faith we give testimony to the truth so that our actions can lead us to heaven,” said the bishop in his Mass for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The bishop said we have an obligation to speak the truth to those whose behavior may be sinful, self-destructive, and harming others.
“It’s a lesson the world does not understand, particularly in our contemporary society. Many a person in our midst can’t make the distinction that if I disapprove of what you do, I disapprove of you,” he said, adding that people mistakenly think, “I do not care for you, welcome you, do not love you.”
However “Love demands I speak the truth because I love you and wish to do what is good for you,” he said.
Reflecting on the Gospel of Matthew 18: 15-20, 5 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother,” the bishop said that confronting a person is not rejecting them but trying to save them from behavior that separates them from the fullness of God’s love.
He said that in the second reading of the day (Romans 13:8-10) St. Paul reminds us that we are responsible for loving one another as we walk through the journey of life together.
“Because I wish the good for you, we must always in mercy correct one another when we have made choices that are destructive and sinful.”
In the early Church, followers set up a system of “fraternal correction” so that a person could be guided in love to step aside from actions that can hurt others and ultimately offend God, he said.
“It was created to love them, not to condemn them or judge them but to lead them to Christ,” yet we are often reluctant and “hesitate in our heart of hearts” to say anything.
“How often in our own lives, particularly among those we love, do we not challenge their actions because we do not wish to offend them or we fear they will walk away,” he said. “
The bishop said the gospel reminds us that love demands we speak the truth to those around us so they may find the way to walk toward their promise and destiny in Jesus Christ.
The bishop said that something said to him by one of his Jesuit teachers at Regis High School in Brooklyn has stayed with him his entire life.
“God will never love your sins, but will always love you,” his teacher said.
The bishop said the message is simple and profound. “God being love himself has irrevocably covenanted himself with us. He will always love us who are his temple. He will never walk away from you and I even when our sin offends His majesty and disobeys His will.”
He concluded his homily by noting that when he was serving as pastor at St. Dominic Parish in the Diocese of Brooklyn at the time of the 9/11 attacks, almost overnight a saying immediately came into use and to this day it is written on every subway car in New York City.
“If you see something, say something.”
“The challenge to think about this week is, when we see something in the life of someone we love that is destructive, sinful or leading them into harm, for the sake of love, for the sake of Jesus Christ our savior, are we willing to say something?”
Following Mass the bishop thanked all those who are participating in the online Rosary and the weekly “Conversation about Race,” to root out the sin of racism in the diocese.
Conversations about Race: The webinar series, features talks by teachers and pastoral ministers, began on July 30 will run through September 3. The talks are live-streamed at 1 pm each Thursday and then rebroadcast at 7 pm each evening, with a question and answer sessions moderated by a member of the diocesan ad hoc committee against racism. (To view a recording of previous webinars, visit this page and click “previous webinars: https://formationreimagined.org/events-home/.)
Bishop’s Online Mass: The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.