Reconciliation Lectionary: Ephesians 4:23-32

mary-the-penitent.jpgThe Rite of Penance number 158 gives us a long reading from Ephesians 4: verses 1-3, then 17-32 as a choice for proclamation.

The Rite also offers a shorter option with verses 23-32. This reading is suggested for use in a communal liturgy (form II) with Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 51, and the Beatitudes under the theme of “Your mind must be renewed.”

When considering a reading for liturgy, one has choices. It is possible to find readings with a common word, if not a moral or theological premise. In other words, let two or more Scriptures drive home a point. The renewal is obviously from this reading, the beginning of it:

Be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Therefore, putting away falsehood,
speak the truth,
each one to (your) neighbor,
for we are members one of another.
Be angry but do not sin;
do not let the sun set on your anger,
and do not leave room for the Devil.
The thief must no longer steal,
but rather labor,
doing honest work with his [own] hands,
so that he may have something to share with one in need.
No foul language should come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for needed edification,
that it may impart grace to those who hear.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you,
along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Saint Paul gives some basic and good advice here. Do these things, he suggests, and you will be on the right path. Sometimes believers need a simple and straight-forward talk.  Keep it simple. Give a few examples. Start from there.

As we progress in the Christian life, sometimes we just need something like this–nothing terribly complex or theological.

That last piece of advice: be kind and forgive–this is the most appropriate advice of all for the Sacrament of Penance.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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