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The Christian Mystery

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Biblical Reflection: Lk 15:11-24

The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. (CCC 1421)

Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God’s forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. (CCC 1440)

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion… (CCC 1446)

The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention of make reparation and do works of reparation. (CCC 1491)

“Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance” St. Clement of Rome (CCC 1432)

Questions for discussion:

  • In the biblical reflection above we are directed to read the Parable of the Lost Son. Who do you identify with in this Parable?
  • How frequently do you examine your conscience and identify your occasions of sin?
  • Considering the petition of Our Father: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”: Who do you have to forgive?
  • Have you offended or hurt anyone? Have you ask for forgiveness? If not, how are you planning to deal with that situation?
  • Please do not answer this publicly, but for few minutes consider what sin are you trying to eradicate from your life; and how are you planning to do it.

Further reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 1420-1498.