Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by:
Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
Homilies to the people of Antioch, XX, 12
“Go first and be reconciled with your brother”
This is what I proclaim, what I testify, what I cry out with a resounding voice: Let no one who has an enemy draw near the holy table to receive the Body of the Lord! Let no one who does approach it have an enemy!
Do you have an enemy?
Do not come near!
If you want to do so then first go and be reconciled, then receive the sacrament.
It is not I who say this but the Lord : he who was crucified for our sake.
To reconcile us to his Father he did not refuse to be sacrificed nor to shed his blood; as for you, won’t you so much as say a word and take the initiative of going to find him so as to be reconciled with your brother?
Listen to what the Lord says with regard to people like you: “If you are brining your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you…”
He doesn’t say: “Wait until he comes to find you, or until he receives a visit from one of your friends as intermediary”, or again: “Send someone else to him”, but: “You, run up to him in person!”
Go on, he says, first go and be reconciled with your brother.”
It’s incredible !
Whereas God doesn’t think himself insulted to see the gift you were about to offer him set aside, as for you, do you consider it a dishonour to take the first step towards being reconciled with your brother?
What sort of excuse do you find for such behaviour?
When you see one of your members cut off, don’t you try by every means to attach it again to the rest of your body?
Do the same thing for your brothers and sisters: when you see them cut off from your friendship, go quickly to bring them back.
Don’t wait for them to come back to you first but be the first yourself; hasten to accomplish it!