There seems to be a cottage industry that has developed in America all surrounding the notion that modern life is lonely. It seems this sense of loneliness flows from the notion that we are to be “self sufficient” and not “need” anybody to help us. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being capable of caring for yourself, but, as all good things, this ability can be twisted and made to be an impoverishment to our lives.
It’s like our Gospel lesson this morning. Jesus speaks very plainly to the crowd around Him about the dangers of destroyed relationships. In one section He says “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (see Matthew 5:20-26)
Broken relationships directly affect our relationship with God. Broken relationships directly affect our communion and our lives. Broken relationships release the spiritual “poisons” of resentment, bitterness, fear, despondency, anger, and the desire for revenge. Left unattended these spiritual poisons then infect all our other relationships setting up a pattern of self-protection and defensiveness that reinforce the very loneliness we fear.
One of the remedies of this spiritual spiral down into loneliness is taking seriously the Lord’s command to not let these difficulties and broken relationships fester. Deal with misunderstandings and arguments as quickly as you can after a “cooling off” period. In another place the Apostle Paul said “Don’t let the sun set on your anger.” Keep short accounts, especially with those closest to you.
By doing this you invite the grace of God into all your relationships to provide healing and humility and you can approach the Chalice of the Eucharist with integrity and peace.
Today, let us put away bitterness, anger, grudges, spite, and desires for revenge and make peace our goal so that we will always be able to approach the Body and Blood of Christ with peace and integrity.
Today, make peace with someone.