I am currently teaching my students about the sacrament of Reconciliation. As with every sacrament we first research its roots found in the scriptures. The act of forgiveness and the mercy of Jesus is splashed throughout every gospel. I challenge my students to find stories of the forgiveness of Jesus. Take a moment and recall some of the stories of Jesus and his forgiveness.
There are so many stories that come to my mind. The story of every person he physically healed, many of whom he also forgave their sins and healed them spiritually. I wrote a guided meditation taking my students into the scripture reading of the adulteress who was about to be stoned to death and the mercy of Jesus. Jesus even forgave those Roman soldiers who nailed him to the cross. In Luke’s gospel the last person Jesus spoke to before he died was the good thief. “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43 In the his last words Jesus was giving forgiveness and mercy. This speaks volumes to the forgiveness that Jesus gave to others. Not only was he forgiving sins but he was forgiving the sins of the outcasts, people who in that day were believed to be the most sinful.
If Jesus gives mercy, forgiveness, and love to thieves, prostitutes, murderers, tax collectors, the sick, and the poor, then why is it so difficult to believe that he also wants to forgive each one of us? Jesus desires to have a good relationship with each one of us. In order to be in a good relationship we need to admit to our wrongdoings, be sorry for our sins, and try to change our lives so we do not do them again. We need to confess them to Jesus and ask for his forgiveness and mercy. Reconciliation is the best way to do this. The priest is there to have that human voice. Jesus will be the one to absolve you of your sins. When you have to speak your sins out loud you have to own them. The priest will help you find a penance that will make ammends for your sin and give you ideas on how to not do it again. In this moment you are committing to becoming a better person. Then you are absolved of your sins and you are reconciled to Jesus. Your heart will be healed and opened.
Today, consider revisiting the sacrament of Reconciliation and move one step closer to Jesus. He wants to forgive and give you mercy, but you need to make the first move. The question is not whether Jesus will forgive you, that is evident through the scriptures. The question is will you go and ask him for forgiveness?