If two or three are gossiping over coffee after Mass one day, are they gathered in Jesus’ name? Pope Francis warns us that they are not, since the self-satisfied and judgmental spirit that underlies most gossip undermines the love of Jesus, who died to save the very person about whom others gossip. To gather in the Lord’s name, it is not enough to just use his name, since “not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).

To gather in the name of Jesus means to come together in obedience to his call without being ashamed of his words, ready to take up the cross that Jesus offers us, for the salvation of the world. Following the Lord’s command in today’s gospel, how may we allow ourselves to become such people and invite others to the same reconciliation that God offers?

—Fr. Sylvester Tan, SJ, is a newly ordained priest of the USA Central and Southern Province, currently serving as the associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans.