Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Be Reconciled to God
5:20 Since God's message comes through our preaching, We represent Jesus Christ. So, we beg you, become God's friends! 21 Jesus did not commit any sins. But, when he died, he made himself like the sins we hate, so we could stand before God with Jesus guilt-free.
6:1 Together with Jesus, we urge you to take the gift of God's friendship seriously. 2 God himself told us:
I heard you when the time was right. And I helped you on the day I saved you.
5:20 We are representatives for CHRIST, like God calling out through us. We beg (you) on behalf of CHRIST, be reconciled to God. 21 The ONE having not known sin made (himself) sin for us, so that we might become the righteous of God in HIM.
6:1 Working together (with CHRIST), we call out (to you) not to receive the grace of God in an empty (heart). 2 For, (God) said:
"I heard you at the right time of acceptance; on the day of deliverance, I came to aid you."
6:1 "In an empty (heart)" is literally "in emptiness." The RSV translated this phrase as "in vain."
6:2 This verse is from Isaiah 49:8.
In a section on the subject of reconciliation, Paul urged his audience in Corinth to be reconciled to God. More to the point, he urged his audience to take reconciliation SERIOUSLY. Corinth was never a completely cohesive community, with its infighting and cliques. The tensions within the community threatened schism. And, in 2 Corinthians 1-9, Paul wrote the church a letter of reconciliation. The tensions between Paul and the Corinthians threatened the universal peace of the Church.
In Paul's mind, reconciliation had far reaching implications, for it meant coming together for a common purpose: to extend the mission of Christ in the world, reconciling humanity with God. In this sense, Paul equated reconciliation with evangelization. Evangelization meant reconciliation meant evangelization. A never ending circle of ministry.
Also notice another corollary. The Corinthians could replace the word "evangelization" with "holiness." In this sense, reconciliation is part of the never ending circle of holiness.
Like the Corinthians, we need a continuous reconciliation with God for personal spiritual growth and personal witness when we bring others to Christ. Reconciliation keeps us honest and transparent.
How have you been reminded to be reconciled with others? With God? How do you plan to reconcile this Lent?