Returning to Matthew 5, looking at verses 23-24, Jesus puts a twist into what I would expect him to say. I expect him to say, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that you have something against your brother, go and be reconciled first." That would follow naturally from his previous statement, "anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." But that is not what he says.
What Jesus says is, "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24). Did Jesus get confused about who was angry with whom? I don't think so. He was making his point from both sides. It doesn't matter if you are angry with your brother, or if your brother is angry with you; it must be dealt with quickly, now, immediately. Make all haste to deal with it. Don't let the sun go down another day.
We can't approach the altar when we are angry with someone because our relationship with others reflects our relationship with God. As John says, (1 John 4:20), "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
For reflection: Before the sun goes down today, who can I set free from my teenage years? With whom am I angry? Who is angry with me?
Let us pray. Jesus, the body of Christ is hurt, bruised, broken and some of the fault is mine. I have stepped on toes, twisted arms, knocked the knees out from under. I have broken hearts. I have left people handcuffed and tongue-tied. I have berated and belittled. Show me how to do my part to build up the body rather than tear it down.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.