Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Pedagogical slapping

“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. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. Mt 18,15-20

Some years ago, it happened to us to comment on this page of the Gospel during the morning prayer. A dialogue soon arose, such as this: “Gianfilippo!  If Gianlorenzo does something he shouldn’t have done, what do you do? ”  “If it hasn’t got anything to do with me, it’s up to you, parents, to settle it. But if he does something wrong to me, I’ll settle it personally”.  “And what do you tell him?”  “Nothing, I slap him”. “But the Gospel says that first we must speak, so that he becomes aware of his mistake”. “All right. And if he doesn’t understand, can I slap him? “. “No, Gianfilippo! The gospel says that you must try once again to talk to him, together with Giannandrea, and also with Anna Rita, maybe”. “Again? But if he doesn’t understand, there’s no point in talking so much”.  “It’s true, but the gospel says that if he does not understand, still the matter must be discussed in a meeting, for example, you could tell the facts at this morning prayer, so that everybody can give their contribution to the solution of your argument”. “Come on, is it really impossible by now to slap him?” “No, it isn’t. You should try to settle the argument by involving your parents, talking together”. “And what if he never understands, not even during the morning prayer? ”  “Then, the Gospel says that Gianlorenzo must be for you as a pagan and a publican, that is, a stranger to you”. “Ah, there finally!  then, I can slap him”. “No, Gianfilippo! Jesus said you can’t slap the pagans and the publicans, you must proclaim the gospel to them”. “So, what does it mean, that you must start talking over again? ” “Here you are, boy, that’s it”. “In short, there is no more slapping. Why then do you slap us now and then? ” “But that, Gianfilippo, is educational slapping, to help you grow”. “So, I also pedagogically slap him immediately, and that’s settled once and for all!”

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