Reconciliation Conclusions

We are people reconciled by the grace of God. For many years, for many people, reconciliation with God seemed to be something we needed to do. We needed to be sorry for our sins. We needed to make amends for what we had done wrong. We needed to prove to God that we were worthy of God’s mercy. The scriptures present us with a vastly a different image of what reconciliation looks like.

The fact that we are in need of God’s mercy, forgiveness or reconciling grace is not in doubt. The fact is that we are sinners. We have disobeyed the author of life, the creator of all things visible or invisible. We have not been perfect in the way we relate to God or to God’s creation, especially to our fellow human beings. We are broken. Our relationships are broken. Reconciliation is needed.

However, over and over again, the scriptures remind us that God is the One that seeks reconciliation first. We often think that we start it all by asking for forgiveness, by confessing our sins, by looking for ways to grow closer to God. Yet even these actions and attitudes all come through the grace of God.

Reconciliation is first and foremost the work of God. God calls us to be God’s beloved. God loved us first. God sent Jesus, the Son of God, to heal and redeem, to reconcile and bring us into closer union with God.

Often times, when we look at the sacrament of reconciliation, we act as if it is all about our sins. We focus on the confession of our sins. However, I believe that the sacrament of reconciliation is always a celebration first and foremost about God’s mercy. We are invited to confess our faith in God’s unbounded mercy. God’s mercy is always stronger than our sins. If reconciliation is all about our sins, then we really have nothing to celebrate. If, on the other hand, it is about God’s mercy, there is plenty to celebrate.

Not only that, but the sacrament of reconciliation is also not just about me and my relationship with God, it is also about us and our relationships with one another. Sometimes, we as individuals have not been estranged from God and God’s creation, but we as a people have been. All of humanity needs to be reconciled to all of creation, as Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si.

Sometimes nations need to be reconciliated to one another. Sometimes people within nations or beyond nations need to be reconciled. Sometimes the systems of government or economies are unjust, especially to the poor, and there is need for reconciliation. At those times, only God can begin the transformation that is necessary to create a more just society. That, however, does not leave us off the hook. There are things we can do to begin the process or at least to participate in the process that leads us to a more just society, a world order, that approaches the vision of the Kingdom of God that Jesus has proclaimed.

Throughout salvation history God has sent us prophets who call us to that just society, that kingdom where God reigns, where all are reconciled to one another and all live in just relationships with one another. The spirituality of the Precious Blood calls us to that kind of reconciliation.

We are people reconciled to God through the blood of Christ establishing a new covenant, poured out for us on the cross, and shared with us in eucharistic cup of salvation.