Everything in life reminds us of the unity of the whole of life. Everything works for the good of everything: rainfalls so that flowers can bloom and plants can produce fruits in abundance for the feeding of human beings and other animals; the same rain increases the level of water in rivers and lakes so that fish can live and multiply. Sunshine enables plants to photosynthesize and produce fruits; but also, the sun shines so we can see and grow stronger bones that will enable us to go anywhere for food and friendship. Just think of air and the many ways it serves life on this planet, especially human beings. First, air contains oxygen which is so essential to life; all living things breathe air. Secondly, the same oxygen present in air enables combustion or burning: we cook, generate heat and electricity, etc. Even the moving air – wind – is used by nature to disperse seeds! That is so fascinating! The whole of life thrives on harmony. That is why, once there is disharmony, nature itself mobilizes all resources available to reconcile disharmonious forces.

What happens in the physical world equally takes place in our personal and social lives. In fact, conflicts within us and others are the greatest sources of pain and agony in life. It doesn’t matter what they are, conflicts call for reconciliation, otherwise life becomes a constant wear and tear, and the result is usually chronic unhappiness, guilt and sadness. There will always be a gap between what one wants to be and what one is at each moment in life, but if the gap is too much so as to create an unhealthy tension, that conflict can depress the spontaneity of the soul. We make efforts to reconcile with the various conflicts inside us through change in lifestyle, making better and realistic choices, clarifying our values, and paying more attention to the impetus that comes from the soul, rather than from more external forces. The more we work at reconciling the conflicting forces within us, the happier and peaceful our lives will be.

Conflicts that come from our relationships can be so draining. Some let it last for too long, creating unhealthy tension and uneasiness. You now understand why Jesus would insist that we go miles to make sure we reconcile with one another. First, meet and talk it over with the person who offends you, and if that doesn’t work, call someone to assist in the process, and if that doesn’t work, talk to the community, that is the Church, hoping it will be able to bring about the reconciliation. Only if the person refuses to listen to the Church will you leave the person, for he or she has refused to be brought into the unity of love and forgiveness. Persons like that prefer to nurture and lick their wounds or even instigate disunity and disharmony. The life of such persons hardly knows true peace.

If all life, our own lives and all relationships thrive on harmony and unity, then reconciliation is the means of bringing back harmony to the situation. Nature itself has a way of balancing out disharmonious forces. But as human beings, we have to work at reconciliation within ourselves and in our relationships. Reconciliation brings so much healing to the pain and drain of conflicts, animosity, grudges, and resentments that often last for years. Conflicts and grudges tear families and friends apart, and often efforts at reconciliation are rejected with such decisiveness that one wonders why anyone would prefer disharmony, pain, agony and division over peace, harmony, unity and love. This is the paradox of human existence. But Jesus knows better, which is why He insists that we work hard at reconciliation and when one refuses reconciliation after a long effort, persons like that should be left alone. All we can then do is pray for them. May the Lord grant us the grace to always desire to reconcile than hold back, seek peace rather than disunity.