Reconciliatio et Paenitentia 7: At the Sources of Reconciliation

Chapter Two discusses “At The Sources of Reconciliation.”

With Pope John Paul II, we’ll hit three topics:

  • In the Light of Christ the Reconciler
  • The Reconciling Church
  • The Reconciled Church

Let’s begin with the first:

As we deduce from the parable of the prodigal son, reconciliation is a gift of God, an initiative on his part. But our faith teaches us that this initiative takes concrete form in the mystery of Christ the redeemer, the reconciler and the liberator of (the person) from sin in all its forms. St. Paul likewise does not hesitate to sum up in this task and function the incomparable mission of Jesus of Nazareth, the word and the Son of God made man.

Jesus’ parables seem simple on the surface, but they reveal layers of meaning, especially when considered in the light of the whole of his mission and teaching. The Lord took upon himself the mantle of the Old Testament prophets and the Psalmist as well. The prophetic and wisdom traditions of Judaism stressed that God is the actor on behalf of his chosen people. Nothing happens apart from God’s initiative, or even the very breath and thought of the Almighty.

We inherit these roots and foundation, through the apostle Paul:

We too can start with this central mystery of the economy of salvation, the key to St. Paul’s Christology. “If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” writes St. Paul, “much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.”(Cf Romans 5:10f.; cf Colossians 1:20-22) Therefore, since “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” Paul feels inspired to exhort the Christians of Corinth: “Be reconciled to God.”(Cf 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20)

The last of these Scriptures is cited in greater detail at the entrance to the season of Lent, our annual pilgrimage through the landscape of penance and reconciliation.

This document is Copyright © 1984 – Libreria Editrice Vatican. The link on the Vatican site is here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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