Monday, May 21, 2018
In times of severe division, what can the Christian do?
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-25
For a practice so empathetically commanded by our Lord, reconciliation has become the far distant cousin of forgiveness. Oh, we desperately and so commonly ask the Lord to forgive us, yet we so rarely take that first step in the process of forgiveness, becoming reconciled to one another.
We are in a season of fierce division and if we are not careful, we as a society will slaughter the one remaining hope for us all … the healing power and the restorative power of reconciliation. When all the bridges are burned and all the walls constructed then the hope of unity and harmony will have nearly turned to ash.
Christ taught, “If you are on the way to court but someone has something against you, be wise. Settle the matter before you ever reach that court, lest you both become forever estranged.”
Jerusalem and Judea was a divided community in the time of Christ. This group and that group had zealous opinions about how to deal with the Roman Empire. Christ asked of each party to take stock of their own particular kinds of sinning and then humbly confess and come to terms with that which divided them. Reconciliation requires mutual sacrifice for the sake of the mercy.
God approached with an initiative of grace. God first loved us. And if Christ is truly within us and m among us … we also must take the initiative and being the one who first confesses and first forgives and first offers the terms of our reconciliation. If this fair? Not for the proud. It is the quality of spirit found in Christ, the one who first offers a path to reconciliation.
But alas … we entrapped in a snare that we ourselves have set … we must win and the others must lose!
In Christ’s Service always,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz