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Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Deut. 34:1-12 & Mt. 18:15-20

Moses was soon to leave the world. With God's guidance he had led the lsraelites out of slavery and within sight of the Promised Land. Now his task was finished and in today's first reading he handed on his leadership to Joshua: he would have been prepared for this role for Moses knew that without leadership the people would surely wander away from God, arguing and complaining among themselves. They would trust and follow Joshua because they had witnessed Moses laying hands on him and giving him this authority.

Jesus, too, was soon to leave the world. His task on Earth was finishing but His Apostles would carry on His work. He invests in them the authority to lead and teach His people in today's Gospel reading. They were given power to bind and loose, in other words to define what we are to believe and how we are to live our lives, and when to forgive sins or withhold absolution.

What we learn from this is that no matter who we are, we all have to live under some kind of authority. There are people who say that nobody is going to tell them what to do but they are deceiving themselves. Without guidance and leadership we would wander around like the lsraelites, arguing about right and wrong, splitting up into rival groups. Everyone would want to go his or her own way, never finding the right way. Jesus has shown us the way and given His Church authority to lead us always in the way of truth. We can confidently follow as the lsraelites trustingly followed Joshua. Through this God will guide us to the home He has promised us.

Heavenly Father, may we be aware that the Church's authority comes from You, may we follow it and may it lead us to You.

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