A great image from a wide monk, Dorotheus of Gaza: humanity forms a huge circle with God in the center. In order to move closer to God, the Center, we must move closer to each other. That’s what happens as we move closer to God; the “circle” of just who is our neighbor gets wider and wider, and we draw closer to God.
Jesus makes it clear that we must face the ways we are divided from each other, often because of misunderstandings, hurtful words, betrayal. He teaches us to be reconciled with anyone with whom we are at odds. Jesus goes so far as to say that as we approach the altar with our gifts, or as we approach to receive Communion, and realize hurtful feelings about another person, we are to leave and be reconciled. This extreme response, rather impossible to carry out, shows how essential it is that we become reconcilers.
Re-conciliation, to “bring together”, is at the heart of the gospel. Coming together in dialogue, allowing what’s needed to be expressed to occur, let go of the need to “get back,” and walk away in respect for the other. Being good friends may not happen, but being RECONCILED will.
Reconciliation brings us closer to each other and to God, a movement to the center that leads to the firm foundation of making the world a place of justice.