12 Aug (Based on Mt 18:15-20)

Facebook is the popular online social networking service, which has achieved immense levels of popularity and usage.

Many use it, on account of its…
… versatility in finding and maintaining contacts
… easy to use features and the availability of readily accessible tools
… resourcefulness which helps to gain a lot of information and entertainment

One of the features that is available on Facebook is the option to “unfriend” someone.

To “unfriend” means to remove someone from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking website.

The technique to do that is pretty simple:
 Going to the person’s profile
 Hover over the ‘Friends’ button at the top of the profile
 Click on “Unfriend’

It’s as easy and straightforward as that to “throw” someone out of the friend list!

Real life too, sometimes falls into this “simplistic” technique to “unfriend” people from life – especially people who are close to us and who ought to deserve “repeated” chances before the ties are severed…

… Someone offends us – either out of ignorance or perhaps due to some reason – but we easily “break ties” with that person

… Someone speaks a bad word about us and we take so much offence that we lose all our peace of mind and devise schemes to terminate or harm that person – either physically or socially or mentally

… Someone acquires a bad name – out of false rumours or maybe even out of some true incident; but we make a mountain of the mole and go on to further critically damage the image of that person

Our life sometimes makes it so easy “to unfriend” someone… even our own family members, or close friends or some other person who has played a deep role in our lives.

The Gospel of the Day invites us to reflect in depth on this our trend to “unfriend” people from our lives, without even giving them further chances or opportunities to remedy themselves.

Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Mt 18: 15)

Jesus was a person who had an important principle in all His teachings: the need to strive towards perfection.

In Mt 5: 48, Jesus says, ” Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”

It’s this pursuit of perfection in human relationships that makes Jesus to invite us in being careful, cautious and vigilant with respect to severing our relationships with one another.

“Friendship”, it is said, “is delicate as a glass – once broken it can be fixed but there will always be cracks”

Jesus, therefore warns us on the need to “handle with care” our relationships.

The “pursuit towards perfection” makes it inevitable for a Christian – a follower of Christ, to go beyond one’s own limitations and situations in maintaining relationships – preserving and perfection the fine ones, mending and restoring the broken ones.

• It is easy to say “I don’t like you any more” because of some bad experience
… but it takes Christian Gentleness to respect and accept a person, despite his/her faults or failures

• It is easy to show a person the exit-door in our relationship due to some misunderstanding or ego-clash
… but it takes Christian Humility to let go of one’s “proud and adamant mentality” and lower oneself to try to understand better the person in fault and his/her situation and background

• It is easy to harbour grudge and to nurture ill-feelings and to spread the contagion of malicious talks regarding  a person whom we don’t like
… but it takes Christian Charity to allow the honey of Christ’s love to permeate our hearts and to be able to find goodness even in the midst of a slush of ‘apparent dirt’ in the person

Our lives, families, communities and societies are being plagued by a number of cancers with respect to relationships:
 Backbiting and spreading false rumours about people and situations
 Cooking up bogus stories and building up on some true incidents to fashion an “interesting and spicy” report regarding particular persons
 Actively engaging in forming groups and cliques against a someone in order to satiate one’s own pleasures and get through one’s personal agenda for life

Are we ready to be bold to let go of all such tendencies to which we can be prone and instead engage ourselves in radical Christian charity and humility?

May we seek the intercession of St Jane de Chantal, whose feast we celebrate today for greater strength in our personal relationships.

She is the patron saint of forgotten people, in-law problems, loss of parents, parents separated from children and widows.

May her words inspire us:
“If we truly love our neighbours, we refrain from saying anything prejudicial to them.
 We support everyone as we would like to be supported.
 We try to give the example that we would like to receive from others.
 We excuse and forgive the blunders of others as we would like ours to be forgiven and excused.
 We rejoice in the happiness of others and are sorrowful in their pains, just as we would like them to respond to us in ours.
 We graciously help others in their needs both by prayer and actual service.

In this way we truly show our good-will and love.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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