I say to you that unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the legal experts and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift. Be sure to make friends quickly with your opponents while you are with them on the way to court. Otherwise, they will haul you before the judge, the judge will turn you over to the officer of the court, and you will be thrown into prison. I say to you in all seriousness that you won’t get out of there until you’ve paid the very last penny.
RECONCILE WITH YOUR BROTHERS
The focus today is on reconciliation with your brothers and respectful treatment of brothers. We must find reconciliation with our brothers before we can place our gift upon the altar.
Bishop Barron notes that the change of heart and mind required for this recalls the Greek word, metanoia, used often by the gospel writers. This word is most often translated into English as ‘repent’, which carries a moralizing overtone. In the Greek sense of the word, however, the more important overtone is one of fundamental change at the personal level.
With Jesus, a new state of affairs has come. Your perceptions and habits need to change at a fundamental level. This the true repentance, the true reconciliation.