What responsibility do we have for other’s actions? When is it right and proper to respect others’ freedom to make their own wrong choices? When are we obliged to bring others’ bad behaviour to light? What is the best way to approach someone who we believe needs challenge or correction? For all the discussion that has gone into these matters, useful answers are hard to come by.

In his time, the prophet Ezekiel broke new ground with his insistence on individual responsibility – responsibility for one’s own actions and, as we hear in today’s First Reading, responsibility “to warn the wicked to turn from their ways”. Matthew’s Gospel suggests a process to be followed in the community when a ‘brother does something wrong’. No stranger to problems in Christian communities, in his letter to the Romans, St Paul spells out the fundamental principle: “Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour”.

Excerpt from ‘Break Open The Word’.