None of us is called to follow Jesus alone; we’re all called into a community of believers. This reality of our call means that we have certain obligations to love one another as we make our way with Jesus, obligations to support one another on the way – even when this loving support means confrontation.

Father Zosima, a character in Dostevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, says at one point in the novel that “Love in action is a harsh and readful thing compared to love in dreams.” Our duty to at times confront one another is certainly an example of such a thing.

The consolation of today’s Gospel is the reminder that this sort of confrontation – “confrontation for the Kingdom” we might call it – is a holy act: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is a professor of education and Rector of the Jesuit community at John Carroll University, University Heights OH.