Reconciliation “Jesus came and stood before them…. then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them, if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” John 20: 22, 23
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as the Sacrament of Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation), is one of the seven sacraments Christ has given to his Church. It is an invitation to place ourselves in God’s gentle presence. God wants to heal us more than we want to be healed. Nothing gives Jesus greater joy than forgiving us our sins. It has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness, and as a result we are called to forgive others.
It’s not easy
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a difficult one for most of us. We need think no further than the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. Rather than admit wrongdoing, it was so much easier for them to put the blame somewhere else. We can feel too, that God loves us more when we’re doing good. We can even try to make ourselves believe God doesn’t know about our wrongdoing.
God loves you
God love us! God knows what the challenges of human life are all about. We can think about the story of the Prodigal Son, the great insult and hurt the son inflicted on the father, and how the father welcomed him back, without even waiting for an apology. I’ve had occasion to meet many people who were hurt very badly by family members and friends. When I ask the question, “Would you ever be able to forgive them?” the answer is usually, “Yes.” If we as humans can be so forgiving, how much more is God willing to forgive us!
He waits for our return. “But I haven’t been to Confession for fifty years!” The response is simply … “Welcome back! How good it is that you are here!”