Reconciliation is all about seeking God. In the classic tale of sin and return, Luke 15’s two sons, Jesus relates that the movement toward the father, and by implication to God the Father, is the essential vector for a returning sinner.
Seeking God doesn’t mean that the whole salvific effort in the universe is on us. But it does mean that our initiative is needed, expected really. God’s love and regard for the sinner is constant. The father waits for the return of the wayward child. God waits, and beckons us with an offer of mercy.
This core, this heart of Isaiah 55, tells us quite a lot about the Judeo-Christian tradition of reconciliation:
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the Lord for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.
Reconciliation is often about turning expectations on their head. God reminds us that though we might be inclined to remember sin and nurse a grudge, even our own failings, the divine standards are quite different. Should that give us encouragement? I hope so. This small segment might be a good alternate short reading for any form of the Rite of Penance.