vv 23-24 So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
Worship and good relationships have to go hand-in-hand. But be sure to get the point of what Jesus is saying: it is not ‘If you have got something against someone else’, it is rather ‘If someone has something against you when you have to act. It is the realisation that you have offended someone that should prompt reconciliation. It is not up to you to say to someone ‘You’ve offended me’, it is up to you to say to someone,’ I’m sorry I offended you when I …’
It is then for the offended person to offer forgiveness and complete the process of reconciliation.
Once again, Jesus’ teaching touches the reality of everyday life. We are all aware that misunderstandings occur in relationships, and that even the best of friendships can be fractured by a hasty, ill-considered response. But such fractures need not become permanent breaks. Today’s brief reading is a sad one; it is the tale of the breakdown in a working relationship between Paul and Barnabas over the reliability of Mark. We can’t sit in judgement on either of them as we know too little. But what I do know is that years later Paul was reconciled to Mark and valued his work. You can read the evidence of that in 2 Timothy 4:11, which was one of Paul’s last letters, ‘Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.‘ The differences were settled, and they worked together again.