In today’s first reading from Ezekiel 9 an d 10, we see a scene reminiscent of the Passover. God has the faithful marked with a sign. Only they will be spared death.
In our Gospel reading today from Matthew 18, Jesus gives the Twelve the ability to bind and loose. Ancient rabbinic literature tells us that this notion of binding and loosing was the ability to teach authoritatively. Jesus says this same thing to Peter in Matthew 16. This is where we get the notion of the Magisterium of the Church – the Pope acting in concert with the Bishops. Each has the authority to bind and loose, and together they exercise this authority in the universal Church.
Jesus also talks today about praying. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Jesus is made present to us in many ways. And communal prayer is powerful. This is one of the reasons why we, as Catholics, are obligated to go to Mass on Sundays. Can we pray on our own? Certainly. But praying together as a community brings Jesus to us in a special way. So, grab someone’s hand and offer up a prayer today, and know that Jesus is with you!
Father, we thank you for the presence of Jesus whenever we gather together to pray. Help us to remain faithful to communal prayer. Amen.