Author: Rev. Fr. Eldo Varkey Valiaparampil
(Mt.5:23-24) When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first you reconcile with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.
During a journey, a Guru came across a yogi with one leg.
“I burned all my past mistakes”, explained the man.
“And how many mistakes have you burned?”
“I have no idea”.
“And how many are left to burn?” enquired Guru.
“I have no idea”. “Then it is time to stop. Stop asking God for forgiveness, and go and ask those you wounded for forgiveness”. Reconciliation is the way to God and the way to God’s reign.
In the chosen text, Jesus highlights the need for reconciliation before we offer a prayer or confess to partake in the Holy Qurbana.
- Offering without reconciliation is sin
Jesus is trying to elucidate the basic factor of prayer or offering a sacrifice that we cannot be right with God until we are right with men. We cannot hope for forgiveness until we have confessed our sin, not only to God, but also to men, and until we have done our best to remove the practical consequences of it. God rejected offering of Cain because sin (hatred) was in his mind and he could not overcome the sinfulness towards his brother (Gen.3:7). Just relationships make our space more beautiful. Just relationships can be created through reconciliation, overcoming all kinds of ego, and considering others as equal to us. Hence, the cross is the symbolic expression of God reconciling with humanity. In His love for mankind, God the word of glory became man to make us gods by grace. Therefore, the cross invites its followers to have a two-way relationship; both vertical and horizontal, ie to God and to our fellow beings.
- Underestimating others is sin
Survival of the fittest is the law of this world. Accordingly, our selfishness, greed to power, pleasure, money and many other worldly things destroyed the right relationship between God and men and made our space more violent and adulterous.
In our conversations and approaches we consider others as inferior to us and we devalue others in the name of caste, colour, education, religion etc. When we devalue others, we forget the fact that they are also created by God and all are the image of same God. The Guru advises the yogi to stop asking God for forgiveness, and go and ask those you wounded for forgiveness. Reconciliation is the way to God and God’s reign. Let us examine ourselves, and our spiritual offerings. Are they being offered without reconciliation to God and to our fellow beings, or one sided?