to change a person from enmity to friendship, to reconcile.
A Couple Clever Verses for Context
All this is from God, who reconciled (katalasso) us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
In just two verses, Paul has a lot to say about reconciliation: God’s reconciliation with us and our vocation to then bring that reconciliation into the world. Reconciliation, the exchange of enmity for friendship is hard work for everyone involved. It takes Jesus’ knowing us and loving us in our own skin to mend the rift between us and God. Similarly, when it comes to reconciling with one another we too need to know each other: our stories, our struggles, our baggage, our regrets and hopes. Jesus is both the agent of our reconciliation with God and one another and our guide in the ministry of reconciliation we are called and baptized into.
The ministry of reconciliation is no easy undertaking, requiring commitment and thought. Herodotus describes how the Milesians, troubled by civil strife, call on another group of Greeks, the Parians to reconcile (katalasso) their troubled land. The Parians do so by going about the country and observing which farms have remained prosperous and have not been destroyed by the fighting. They then appoint the owners of these farms as rulers of the state, in the hope that they would care for their country as well as they cared for their private lands (Herodotus 5.29)
Clever Questions for Further Reflection
When have you experienced reconciliation?
Who do you still need to be reconciled with? What makes reconciliation so hard?
A Clever Prayer to Close
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”