June 9, 2016
My beloved fellow pellegrini on the way to Jesus—
…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)
We can spend a great deal of time looking to Jesus with regards to learning how to receive a wrong done unto us—to imitate his perfect meekness and humility, a heart of mercy open to the one who wrongs us, in a willingness to turn the other cheek and receive into our being, to be shaped in our being by, another’s act. Jesus, after all, is inherently shaped—inherently changed—by the scourging at the pillar and the crowning of thorns and the nails pierced to crucify. He resurrects so changed.
Less we grasp with regards to being one who does wrong—for Jesus never does. Exactly here opens that humility in which we, like Peter, must come into the space of recognizing both that in us which is made for the seeking of merciful love and that in us which inherits the betraying of that love. What Jesus desires is the making-one—between himself and the one who has done unto him wrong: so before Pilot, before those who stand on the mountain and watch him breathe a last breath, before Peter. To none does he ever turn his back.
This short admonition on Jesus’ behalf means very much, then: We must set aside our brokenness and poverty—or, better yet, charge into an embrace of them; we must set aside our excuses, and we must reach out to make-one where oneness has been broken—because anything else is a turning against the heart of Jesus, which cries out to us, Be merciful, as I have shown you mercy! Then also show your own need for mercy by seeking out that space in which your humility and poverty call out for it in another’s heart, as it necessarily calls out for it in mine. Do not claim to love me, to need me, to be mine if you cannot claim before another that which Peter claims before me in the flesh—a mutual entering-into-brothers-reconciled, gaze-to-gaze, face-to-face, heart-to-heart.