[This is part of a running series on the Didache. See the introductory post for more information — RWB]
1 Κατὰ κυριακὴν δὲ κυρίου συναχθέντες
Upon coming together on the Lord's Day of the Lord
κλάσατε ἄρτον καὶ εὐχαριστήσατε,
break bread and hold the Lord's Supper,
προεξομολογησάμενοι τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν,
confessing your sins beforehand,
ὅπως καθαρὰ ἡ θυσία ὑμῶν ᾖ.
so that your offering may be pure.
2 πᾶς δὲ ἔχων τὴν ἀμφιβολίαν
And all those having a quarrel
μετὰ τοῦ ἑταίρου αὐτοῦ
with another of your number,
μὴ συνελθέτω ὑμῖν,
do not let them gather with you
ἕως οὗ διαλλαγῶσιν,
until they have reconciled
ἵνα μὴ κοινωθῇ ἡ θυσία ὑμῶν.
so that your offering may not be defiled.
3 αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ῥηθεῖσα ὑπὸ κυρίου·
For this is what the Lord says:
Ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ καὶ χρόνῳ προσφέρειν μοι θυσίαν καθαράν.
"In every place and time offer me a pure offering.
ὅτι βασιλεὺς μέγας εἰμί,
For I am a great king,"
says the Lord,
καὶ τὸ ὄνομά μου θαυμαστὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι.
"and my name is great among the nations".
The liturgy (that word is too formal for the context, I think, but you get what I mean) for Eucharist was given in Didache 9 and Didache 10. Here in Didache 14, the view is from a higher level. It assumes that the process for the meal is known and instead focuses on when to hold the feast (on "Lord's Days of the Lord", a curious phrase) and how to prepare for the feast.
Preparation involves confessing one's own transgressions and also reconciling any quarrels, fights, misunderstandings and whatnot one has with anyone else. This likely comes from Mt 5.23-24:
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt 5.23-24, ESV)
This degree of preparation is justified with appeals to what "the Lord" says. Niederwimmer (in his commentary [amazon] (amazon.com)) finds basis for the second quotation in Mal 1.11 and Mal 1.14. I say why not the whole range?:
11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. (Mal 1.11-14, ESV, emphasis added)
The whole range has to do with purity for one's offering, and that is really what Didache 14 is getting at: When we come before the Lord, we are to offer him our best, so we confess our sin and we also make right our relationships with others.
Also worthy of note is Niederwimmer's summary of some previous chapters:
In retrospect we find a more or less cogent train of thought here. While in chaps. 11–13 the Didachist had, in a sense, looked outward (toward the arriving guests of the community), in chaps. 14–15 he looks inward (at the relationships within the community itself). In doing so he touches on two groups of questions: on the one hand the moral status of the community, and on the other hand problems that arise with regard to the leadership of the community (the subject of chap. 15). In the first instance he decrees that the community may only offer its eucharistic sacrifice in a pure state when (1) the members have been purified of sin by a previous confession, and (2) all quarrels have been cleansed away by a prior reconciliation. Only in this way can the sacrificing community be clean; only in this way can it offer the pure, eschatological sacrifice prophesied by Malachi.
Niederwimmer, K., & Attridge, H. W. (1998). The Didache : A commentary (amazon.com). Facsims. on lining papers. Hermeneia--a critical and historical commentary on the Bible (199). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
Next up: Didache 15