Today’s readings emphasizes the importance of loving one another and being responsible for each other. In the first reading, God said to the Prophet Ezekiel, “You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.” Then Saint Paul in the second reading reminds us “to owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law, and because ‘Love does no evil to the neighbor.’ Jesus in the gospel of Saint Matthew re-emphasizes the importance of loving and caring for our brothers and sisters by giving us the blueprint to conflict resolution, so as to win our brother or sister over to God.

Conflict resolution is defined as the process of ending a dispute and reaching an agreement that satisfies all parties involved. Jesus gives us concrete methods of resolving disputes by stating, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”

Hence, with these words of Jesus, we can say that the most important component of Conflict Resolution is Communication. Though Communication in Conflict Resolution entails listening and understanding, it involves having a one on one conversation with the person involved. If he or she refuses to listen, bring it to the knowledge of two or three people and still go back and have that conversation with the person involved. If he or she fails to listen to two or three persons, then go to a larger forum or group like the Church as mentioned by Jesus, and if he or she fails to listen to the Church, then treat him or her as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Though Jesus said that after the last resort fails, you can treat him or her as you would a Gentile or a tax collector, He (Jesus) encourages us to call our brother or sister to join us in prayer, because anything for which we are to pray for, shall be granted to us by His heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in their midst. This means that Prayer is the greatest conflict resolution method. With Prayer, conflicts can be resolved, love, unity, harmony, openness, trust, respect, care for others, understanding and peace will reign and prevail.

So my brothers and sisters in Christ, never forget what Jesus told us in Matthew - Chapter 28, verse 20, “I will be with you always.” So let us always call on Jesus our Lord, to help us communicate more effectively and efficiently with each other, so as to love, care, respect and support one another with our prayers and win one another over to God.