Daily Reflection
June 14th, 2007

Eileen Wirth

Journalism Department
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“If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, then come and offer your gift.”

Years ago, weekly confession preceded by an examination of conscience, was mandatory at my Catholic grade school. Fighting with my brothers and sisters made the list automatically. Happily all five of those sibling-combatants are now among my dearest friends.

But this passage speaks to reconciling the major conflicts of adult life that can’t be settled by a time out – conflicts that make it difficult to forgive, even harder to forget. Perhaps we have been responsible for rupturing relationships that we now wish to mend.

Today’s Gospel is an invitation to heal but we instinctively resist responding to it. Sad to say, I have my own list of at least three people with whom I have had major differences that are unlikely to be resolved unless everyone agrees to compromise – something that seems unlikely. Does this sound familiar?

Not being big on confrontations, and being unlikely to win a face-to-face nastiness contest, I tend to simply avoid such people when we have to attend the same meeting or social gathering. Not exactly what Jesus commanded.

What’s the alternative? I believe that Jesus would prefer even feeble attempts at reconciliation to none at all so I will try to:

•Understand their perspectives and perceive their redeeming qualities. Maybe compromise isn’t as impossible as it seems.
•Speak cordially when I see one of them. Just shutting down amounts to passive aggression.

Maybe I’ll drop a conciliatory note or email just to see what happens. I know that even major breaches can be healed if we let God’s grace take over. When this happens, it feels like a miracle but we have to accept the invitation to healing first.

May we all take our first steps to such miracles!
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