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Celebrating God's Forgiveness
The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Celebrating God's Forgiveness
by Sandra DeGidio, O.S.M.
The well-known Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the most strikingly powerful illustration of the human process of reconciliation, and of the theology inherent in the new Rite of Reconciliation. But many of us find it difficult to believe the story (see Luke 15:11-32). The father welcomes the son back instantly—doesn't even wait for him to get to the house. And he isn't at all interested in the young man's confession, only in celebrating.
This is not the way we Catholics have viewed the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even with the new Rite, most of us tend to view this sacrament with the attitude of the older son in the story: Forgiveness comes only after you recite your list of sins, agree to suffer a bit for them, do something to make up for your offenses, give some
guarantee you won't commit the same sins again, and prove yourself worthy to join the rest of us who haven't been so foolish!
But God really is like the merciful parent in this parable: not out to catch us in our sin but intent on reaching out and hanging on to us in spite of our sin. Reconciliation (and the new Rite is careful to point this out) is not just a matter of getting rid of sin. Nor is its dominant concern what we, the penitents, do. The important point is what God does in, with and through us.…
Reconciliation is offered Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. in the church, and other times by appointment. To make an appointment, call the rectory: 415.922.1010.
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