Extending ourselves

 23rd Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A
Matthew 18:15-20
Among us Filipinos, we are so aware of "extended family ties."  But I wonder how far that extension really goes?

In the first reading, God warns Ezekiel against not saying his judgment to the people of Israel: "if the person dies in his sin, I will hold you accountable."  The opposite applies as well, "If the person repents, you will save your life."

I couldn't imagine that we are that connected.  If I will leave you to your death, I too will die.  That is why the Filipino translation of "brother" says it all, "kapatid", "Ikaw ang kaputol ng aking buhay."

Every man and woman is an extension of ourselves.  The widening gap between the rich and the poor, the literate and the illiterate is hurting us all.  Disconnect ourselves from others and we die.  Connect ourselves with the rest of mankind and we live.

We are also extensions of the Lord.  We are not extensions of our own money or folly.  It is this social responsibility to others that marks us as children of one God and Father.  "Whatever you do to the least of your brothers, you do it to me."

So what does this extension imply to us?  It means that looking at our brothers and sisters we look at ourselves.  We see a sad picture of humankind and we see our greed, laziness, non-commitment and folly.

Second, let us extend that helping hand; let us extend ourselves.  Helping others means helping ourselves live.

Third, extend to God and God extends back to us.  Help one another and God smiles back at us.  We are God's extensions.