Go First and Be Reconciled

In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that it is not enough to merely refrain from killing one another. Rather, he admonishes that “whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Thus, he tells them, if one is planning to bring a gift to the altar but knows that there is enmity between him and his brother, “leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your borhter, and then come and offer your gift.”

The commandments to love God and love one another are not unrelated. The Gospel reminds us of something that we sometimes forget: that how we interact with God can not be separated from how we interact with each other. If we are on bad terms with each other, we can not approach God with an open and loving heart. And any attempt to come before God without loving each other is simply fraudulent.