Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (5: 20-26) in which Jesus tells his disciples to sort out their difficulties with others before offering their gift at the altar.
Jesus in this Gospel gives us six ways in which true righteousness goes beyond what was in the Old Testament. Fr Paul says, this means it also goes beyond what the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers at the time of Jesus, understood as well. Jesus is teaching us that it is not just a matter of slavishly observing every commandment but to go beyond it. If there is an issue with someone then we cannot pray or offer sacrifice. We must leave the sacrifice at the altar and go and be reconciled with the other person. Then and, only, then can we go and truly pray and offer the sacrifice.
This draws attention to just how important the ‘Sign of Peace’ is in our Eucharist prior to receiving communion.
Today, Fr Paul invites us to reflect on our lives, to call to mind those people we need to be reconciled with, to follow the example of the Gospel and seek them out and ask to be reconciled.