The prophet Ezekiel uses the imagery of a watchman in today’s first reading. Being a watchman was a very important role in ancient times when the Bible was written. The watchman stood on a hill or in a tower and was responsible for the safety and security of a town. He would have to stay awake during the night and notice any signs of danger – like an approaching enemy. Then it was his responsibility to alert the residents with shouts or a blaring horn.
In some ways we are to a watchman for each other. This is what Jesus is getting at when he asks us to respectfully point out someone’s fault to that person directly in contrast to gossiping about that person. When we need to do the tough work of fraternal correction it helps to realize that Christ is present when two believers are in conversation. Each person can recognize the presence of Christ in the other, in what is said, and in what is heard.
In what ways have you been this kind of watchman for others? When have others been this kind of watchman for you?