Matthew 5:23

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you;
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Next there follows here: Therefore, if you have brought your gift to the altar, and there rememberest that your brother has ought against you; leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. From this surely it is clear that what is said above is said of a brother: inasmuch as the sentence which follows is connected by such a conjunction that it confirms the preceding one; for He does not say, But if you bring your gift to the altar; but He says, Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar. For if it is not lawful to be angry with one's brother without a cause, or to say Raca, or to say You fool, much less is it lawful so to retain anything in one's mind, as that indignation may be turned into hatred. And to this belongs also what is said in another passage: Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. We are therefore commanded, when about to bring our gift to the altar, if we remember that our brother has...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
Therefore, if thou bring thy gift, &c. If thy brother have anything to complain of in thee, any wrong for which to expostulate with thee, as that thou hast called him raca, or fool. This is the force of therefore in this passage. It would appear that the Scribes taught that all sins, and especially violations of the Sixth Commandment, were expiated by sacrifices and offerings at the altar of God, even when no satisfaction was made for a wrong done to one"s neighbour. But Christ teaches the contrary, and sanctions the law of justice and charity, by which He bids that satisfaction must first be made to our neighbour who has been injured by us either in word or deed. Wherefore he subjoins, Leave there thy gift, &c. This is a precept both of law and of natural religion, which has been by Christ in this place most strictly sanctioned, both because by the Incarnation of Himself He has, in the very closest manner, united us all to Himself and to one another. This greater union, which we have...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
The statement “if you should bring your gift” shows that this is conceived as a means of salvation and as an escape from punishment for sinners. For this God invented repentance. One will avert punishment, however, who tends to the feelings of another who has been wounded. But one who does not love his brother does not love the Lord. Hence it is fitting that whoever bears hard feelings toward his brother is not accepted, since he does not approach the Lord in truth. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
He commands us to leave unfinished any work we may have begun, though in its own nature most acceptable to God, in order to go and be reconciled to our brother; because God will have mercy and not sacrifice. Thus he in a manner seems to prefer the love of our neighbour to the love of himself. (Menochius) ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
O goodness! O exceeding love to man! He makes no account of the honor due unto Himself, for the sake of our love towards our neighbor; implying that not at all from any enmity, nor out of any desire to punish, had He uttered those former threatenings, but out of very tender affection. For what can be milder than these sayings? Let my service, says he, be interrupted, that your love may continue; since this also is a sacrifice, your being reconciled to your brother. Yea, for this cause He said not, after the offering, or before the offering; but, while the very gift lies there, and when the sacrifice is already beginning, He sends you to be reconciled to your brother; and neither after removing that which lies before us, nor before presenting the gift, but while it lies in the midst, He bids you hasten there. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What goodness! What allsurpassing love is shown to humanity! Showing no regard for the honor rightfully his, he calls us to pour forth love toward our neighbor. He explains that he did not speak his earlier threatening words out of hatred or desire to punish but from the most tender affection. For what can be more gentle than these words? “Interrupt the service you are offering me,” he says, “so that your love may continue. To be reconciled to your brother is to offer sacrifice to me.” Yes, this is the reason Jesus did not say “after the offering” or “before the offering.” Rather, precisely while the very gift is lying there, when the sacrifice is already beginning, he sends you at that precise time to be reconciled to your brother. Neither after removing nor before presenting the gift, but precisely while it lies before you, you are to run to your brother. What is his motivation in making such an immediate command? It seems to me he has two ends in mind toward which he is hinting and ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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