Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday and Reconciliation

The Gospel reading for this Sunday is John 20:19-31.  And from that reading we have Jesus speaking to the Apostles. 

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

We see God “breathing” two times in Scripture.  The first is life into Adam, then again on the Apostles.  What does this signify?  Mankind is separated from his Creator through sin.  This breath brings spiritual life where one was once dead.  This is the Sacrament of Reconciliation!  Reading the Scripture above we see where Jesus gives the Apostles the authority to forgive, and not to forgive.

There are many Catholics who dodge “confession.”  I know because not only do they tell me, but when we have parish reconciliation there should be more people showing up.   The reason for dodging confession is usually traced to humbling oneself.  It is an issue of pride.  But the sad thing is the dodger is losing out.  Those who have just returned and those who go to confession regularly will tell you it is an immense grace.  The Sacraments are not something we “do” to God.  They are avenues of His grace.  After a good confession, people have said, “I feel like the world has been lifted off of my shoulders.”  Or, “I felt like I was walking on air.”  People sleep better and feel better, physically and mentally.

Here is the challenge.  Pray about going back to confession if you haven’t been in awhile.  If you are afraid ask others to pray for you.  Don’t let fear or pride stand in the way.  Tell the priest immediately that you haven’t been in a long time.  If fearful, explain that too.  He will walk you through it!

Early Christians thoughts on confession.