You Need a Watchman

Homily for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
September 9-10, 2017
Sacred Heart, EGF – 5:30 PM
St. Francis of Assisi, Fisher – 8:00 AM; Holy Trinity, Tabor – 10:00 AM

Focus:              You need a watchman.
Function:        Who’s your watchman?


I have appointed you watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.

The watchman had a heavy responsibility. He was stationed on the highest part of a city to warn the citizens of an approaching enemy.  From his perspective, the watchman had a clearer view than others.  He could see what they could not see, and so it was his job to warn them of the danger that they could not see coming.

The capital sin is pride. Pride was the original sin that led Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  They thought they could be like God himself.  They were wrong.  Pride is a blinding sin.  It causes us to fail to see the faults in ourselves – faults that others can clearly see.  And so, like the house of Israel, we need a watchman.

You need a watchman.

You need a watchman who will sound the alarm when he sees you walking into danger.

You need a watchman who will warn you when you veer off of the narrow path that leads to eternal life and begin to walk down the wide road that leads to destruction.

You need a watchman with the courage and the clarity of Paul Revere, a watchman who will not remain enclosed in the fortress of his own self-preservation, a watchman who will ride through the darkened streets of your conscience, shining the lantern of truth to enlighten your mind and heart to the approaching of the enemy that you cannot see.

Brothers and sisters, you need a watchman.

You need a watchman who will hold you accountable to living the Christian life.

You need a watchman with the courage to challenge you when you need to be challenged.

You need a watchman…in other words, you need a good friend. St. Basil the Great said it well: For in this way especially does a friend differ from a flatterer: the flatterer speaks to give pleasure, but the friend refrains from nothing, even that which causes pain.

You need a watchman.

Who is your watchman?

Do you have one?

Do you listen to him? Do you heed his warning?  Or do you deafen the ears of your heart to the cry of his voice?

In the Gospel, Jesus gives us the way in which we are to sound the alarm. He gives us the teaching on fraternal correction, on how to correct a brother or sister.  He shows us how to be a good watchman.

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.

Being a watchman takes courage. If you really want to grow in the Christian life, choose someone you trust and share your heart with them.  Let them in on your struggles.  Ask them to hold you accountable.  Appoint him as your watchman, and watch your friendship deepen as you grown in holiness together.

Be a watchman for others. But know your motivation.  Your only motivation must be love. Love does no evil to the neighbor, hence, love is the fulfillment of the law. There is an easy way to check your motivation.  If you enjoy being a watchman for others and pointing out their faults, then your motivation is not love – it is pride – and you are not the right person to be their watchman.  If it pains you to think about telling another person about the danger you see them in, but it weighs heavily on your heart, then you are probably the right person to tell them.  Perhaps the Lord is appointing you as their watchman.  Tell them with love.  We always tell the truth with love.  Love wills the good of the other and requires sacrifice of us.  Tell them with love and leave the decision to them.  The watchman sounded the alarm but it was up to the citizens to act.

Brothers and sisters, you need a watchman. We are called to be watchmen for each other.

Who is your watchman?

Who are you watching out for?



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