Today’s Gospel reading focuses on leaving one’s gift at the altar and reconciling. Jesus tells us that, as important as worship and relationship with God are, repairing and mending human relationships is what God asks us to do. (Of course, God does not ask us to re-enter abusive relationships, though we can still forgive the other in our hearts over time.) The image is a striking one: I imagine being at church in the middle of Mass and leaving partway through the service. For what reasons would we normally leave a church service? Fire? Disaster? Being taken ill? Or in order to repair a relationship?
Concretely, though, how do we live it? Below are a few essays from around the internet.
The Jesuit Post on Jesus and the radical nature of forgiveness:
Sometimes psychological advice is helpful. Here, a couples’ therapist gives advice on how to “think like a therapist.” My favorite suggestion is, when caught in a bad relational pattern, do the opposite of your instinctive response:
What if you want to mend things, but the other person refuses to forgive? Here is blog post from a year or so ago that I wrote on the topic: