"Go first to be reconciled." —Matthew 5:24
In the Sermon on the Mount, the quintessence of the new covenant, Jesus expresses His divinity by superseding the old law in several ways. Jesus' first such statement is: "You have heard the commandment imposed on your forefathers, 'You shall not commit murder; every murderer shall be liable to judgment.' What I say to you is: everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment" (Mt 5:21-22). Anger, angry words, and angry thoughts are forbidden (Mt 5:22). Even if we are not angry with anyone but someone is angry with us, we must halt even our worship and "go first to be reconciled" immediately (Mt 5:23-24). Otherwise, we may be thrown into a prison of some sort, and we "will not be released until" we "have paid the last penny" (Mt 5:26).
Even if we are reconciled with everyone and everyone with us, we still must proclaim the message of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19-20) and work in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). Reconciliation is such a high priority for Jesus that He reconciled "everything in His person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of His cross" (Col 1:20; see also Eph 2:16). We as disciples of Jesus must make reconciliation a very high priority. "We implore you, in Christ's name: be reconciled to God!" (2 Cor 5:20)
Prayer: Father, make my celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation a catalyst for a life of reconciliation.
Promise: "If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him." Ez 18:21-22
Praise: St. Polycarp was martyred in Smyrna where he served as bishop. When given the chance to have his life spared, he said: "For eighty-six years I have served Jesus Christ and He has never abandoned me. How could I curse my blessed King and Savior?"
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 10, 2017
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