Reconciliation Comes from God: do we need more convincing? Pope John Paul II cites a lot of Scripture, starting with the incarnation:
For, according to our faith, the word of God became flesh and came to dwell in the world; he entered into the history of the world) summing it up and recapitulating it in himself. (Cf Ephesians 2:4, 1:10)
Moving to the Last Supper and the Paschal Mystery:
He revealed to us that God is love, and he gave us the new commandment” of love, (John 13:34) at the same time communicating to us the certainty that the path of love is open for all people, so that the effort to establish universal (communion) is not a vain one. (Cf Gaudium et Spes 38) By conquering through his death on the cross evil and the power of sin, by his loving obedience, he brought salvation to all and became “reconciliation for all. In him God reconciled (humankind) to himself.”
What is our response to this? The first call of the Lord in his public ministry, as Saint Mark presents it:
The church carries on the proclamation of reconciliation which Christ caused to echo through the villages of Galilee and all Palestine (Cf Mark 1:15) and does not cease to invite all humanity to be converted and to believe in the good news.
The Church preaches this in a particular way during the season of Lent, as Ash Wednesday tells us:
She speaks in the name of Christ, making her own the appeal of St. Paul which we have already recalled: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (Cf 2 Corinthians 5:20)
The intention of God was to expand a covenantal relationship beyond Israel to the nations, to all humankind.
Those who accept this appeal enter into the economy of reconciliation and experience the truth contained in that other affirmation of St. Paul, that Christ “is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility…, so making peace” that he “might reconcile us both to God.” (Cf Ephesians 2:14-16) This text directly concerns the overcoming of the religious division between Israel-as the chosen people of the Old Testament-and the other peoples, all called to form part of the new covenant. Nevertheless it contains the affirmation of the new spiritual universality desired by God and accomplished by him through the sacrifice of his Son, the word made (flesh), without limits or exclusions of any sort, for all those who are converted and who believe in Christ. We are all therefore called to enjoy the fruits of this reconciliation desired by God: every individual and every people.
A few things here:
- The Great Commission was explicitly about taking the Good News to the nations (Cf. Matthew 28:19)
- Yet the personal connections of Jesus in the Gospel narratives is something Pope John Paul II certainly appreciated in his priestly ministry. He understood the importance of the clergy as the front line of the Lord’s reconciliation of all humankind.
This document is Copyright © 1984 – Libreria Editrice Vatican. The link on the Vatican site is here.