NOTE: In some dioceses, May 29 will be celebrated as the Solemnity of the Ascension. For the reflection for the Ascension, click HERE.
“…so that all may be one, like you, Father, you are in me and I in you…”.
Today’s Gospel reading takes place at the Last Supper. In his “priestly prayer” in John 17, Jesus prays to God the Father on matters that are central to the life of a disciple and the life of the Church. One of these questions is unity: the unity of man with God and the unity of human persons among themselves.
The greatest threat to unity with God and our neighbors is sin. Our sins pierce our souls as they pierce the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Because of this, our souls can become like sieves, unable to contain the grace of the Presence of the Holy Spirit and His seven gifts. Thus, our Christian life poses the struggle for us to allow our souls to be recreated. Here we need to reflect on what it means to us to be “born again”. It means first being washed from sin at baptism, and from there it means being renewed in our relationship with God through the sacrament of confession.
Some people claim that believing in the Sacrament of Confession devalues the meaning of our Christian faith. They claim that being able to go to confession again and again encourages people to sin. Of course, that makes as much sense as saying that being able to shower every day encourages people to get dirty and stink. God gave us the sacrament of confession because he knows that without it we can do nothing. But with him, we can do whatever he asks.
So it’s always confusing to hear people talk about the Sacrament of Confession as an easy way out of sin. After all, what are the alternatives? If God has not truly established the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there are only three basic alternatives. The first is that there is no sin. The second is that there is sin, but as long as we have at some point accepted Christ as our personal Savior, our sins don’t matter because we are already saved. The third is that there is sin, and when a Christian sins, he or she must look to God for forgiveness, but nevertheless that forgiveness can be obtained simply by praying directly to God. When you contrast these three alternatives with the Catholic’s need to confess mortal sins through the Sacrament of Confession, it makes little sense to say that Catholics have an easy way out.
Even if we set aside reason and logic, we can also look at our relationship with God from a more personal perspective. If you reflect on the most intimate relationships you have had in your life, whether with a spouse, parents, children, or friends, you may wonder how you seek reconciliation with these people when you seriously offended them. way.
Several alternatives could be considered. First, we could pretend that we’ve never hurt each other: that we don’t need to ask for forgiveness. Sometimes we might act that way, but we know it’s not honest.
Second, we might admit that we had hurt the other, but then affirm that as long as we had professed our love for the other at some point in the past, they would automatically forgive us without our asking. Sometimes we may act like that, but we know it’s presumptuous.
Third, we might admit that we have hurt the other and know that we need to ask for forgiveness, but then seek that forgiveness in a roundabout way: for example, through flowers, a card, or a deed. of kindness towards the other. These are all good things and can lead to forgiveness, but until a person breaks down, gets down on their knees, opens their mouth and expresses their grief and need for forgiveness, they cannot, even d purely human point of view. , to receive the full joy of being forgiven and to be able to continue to have an even stronger relationship with the loved one.
That is what this Easter season is all about: accepting the full measure of the forgiveness that Christ offers us through his death and resurrection. Everything we do as Christians is for others, and how we do things as Christians says a lot about how we will respond to others in our lives. The Holy Spirit, in particular through the sacrament of confession, allows us to experience a unity with God and neighbor that cannot be achieved by our human efforts alone.