If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. (Luke 12:58-59)
“Blessed are the peacemakers.”
Lord seems to indicate that Judgment Day will come with great severity. We rightly tremble at the prospect of strictness at that crucial moment.
After all, we may try to do good and avoid evil. But we do not always succeed. If we had to atone for everything selfish, sensual, or proud we ever did; for every errant word; for every failure of devotion to our Creator and Father? We would hardly have a hope.
But we can negotiate this. We can wheel and deal here—provided we’re not too proud to admit we need some assistance. We can stave off the inevitable condemnation and punishment that would come if we just sat on our own meager laurels.
We can sue for peace. Peace with the Judge Himself, and peace with those we have wronged. We can be the kind of peacemakers who say:
“Lord, look upon the perfect justice and holiness of Your Son! Count me among those redeemed by His Precious Blood!” (That is actually precisely what we do say whenever we assist at Holy Mass.)
Then we can be the kind of peacemakers who say to each other whenever we can: “I know I have wronged a million people in a million ways that I am too obtuse even to know. I would like to make up to you any wrong I have done you. And I would be glad for you to teach me how to be a better person. Let’s be friends.”