Last Sunday, we heard Jesus telling us we must take up our cross and follow him. That’s always difficult to hear. When we have the courage to do so, we are showing our willingness to follow Him. By taking up our cross, we show we are joined to Him. We show our trust in Him.
This Sunday, Jesus points towards a very common, real, and unfortunately uncomfortable experience in the task of offering forgiveness and reconciliation to an offending brother or sister. It is in this process of healing broken relationships that discipleship shows its very real and practical meaning. Life in common, even life in common among Christians, is not easy. We can rub each other the wrong way. Our speech can easily offend. Our anger can cause us to lash out. We are prone to gossip or tell stories about others that do not reflect the best in them, or ourselves.
Jesus outlines for us a three-step process for attempting to gain reconciliation in approaching a person who has offended us, but I would just like to address the what I feel is the first and most important step. While this process might not work for every case, we must engage in the process regardless.
That step we must take is to ensure the reconciliation is done face to face, one on one.
We must attempt to dialogue with one another in a deeply interpersonal manner. The process of coming together is not conducted by text message or email. The personal element preserves honor and dignity. You are carrying your cross and not forcing others to carry it for you.
Isn’t that where healing begins?
While we may not get through to the offending party, we can at least begin to come to terms with the hurt. Though Jesus says that the entire community may need to be brought in to resolve the situation, it is also true that reconciliation may happen prior to going that far.
Saint Paul sums it all up today when speaking about the Commandments that involve interpersonal behavior and responsibility. He says that, in the end, we owe no one anything except to love. For to love means that our lives are at peace with others and with the world.
Loving here is the most profound form of respect and caring. May the Lord give us that peace.
Peace and All Good,