Thursday, June 12, 2014

Go First and Be Reconciled

Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

And the seventh time the youth reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.”  Elijah said, “Go and say to Ahab, ‘Harness up and leave the mountain before the rain stops you.’”  In a trice the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain fell.  Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel.  1 Kings 18:44-45

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Matthew 5:23-24

You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God’s watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.  Psalm 65:10

The New American Bible notes to the first reading explain that by claiming authority over the rain, the Lord was challenging Baal’s power in Baal’s own domain.  The entire drought story in Kings (chapters 17–18) implies what becomes explicit later in chapter 18:  this is both a literal and figurative struggle between the Lord and Baal for the loyalties of the people of Israel.
We see the “push-pull” of the Lord taking dominion over human emotions just as the Lord did in the physical world.  We cannot claim to serve the Lord if we do not set aside our petty jealousy and rivalry.  “Go first and be reconciled.” We have to take these steps before we can be forgiven.  The Lord asks that our reconciliation has to be “before-given” – we must take the first step.  After all, the Lord takes the first step in guaranteeing us His love and mercy.
Jesus also sets the bar within reach.  He does not challenge his listeners with being perfect but he challenges them with these words: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” 

In thanks for the blessings we have from the Lord, how can we put this scripture into practice? To whom do you have to be reconciled?  What first step can you take to right that relationship?  Don’t let the rain or anything else stop you.

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