Scripture: “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins are forgiven.” - John 20:23
In every kind of family life there are things that happen between members that can cause hurt, or separation, sometimes even anger, or more. Although in a family everybody should love each other, sometimes the way we live is not very loving at all.
However, we are still family and if we are going to continue to be family, healing needs to take place. Understanding the other person needs to happen. We need to review ourselves honestly, the situation that has transpired in which we were involved, our intention about the situation in which we were involved, and the results of that situation as we carry through our intention into action. The chief reflection on all of this is whether we lived according to the Gospel by doing this or not. This reflection is called the “examination of conscience.” It does not necessarily involve the OTHER PERSON’S INTENTIONS OR ACTIONS, only yours. This is about what you did, not about what they did. And the active word in all of this is DID. Although, willful thoughts of hurt or harm are also matter for “confession/reconciliation.”
We really do enjoy being with each other or being with someone who we know understands us for who we are. No one likes pain. No one likes separation. No one likes to feel abandoned. And we don’t like to cause things like that to happen to others either. No one really likes anyone to be greater or lesser than they are. When rifts happen, Reconciliation is the sacrament that makes us aware of God’s love for us despite our rifts with God. Reconciliation happens in the conversation between the priest and the person who is trying to face themselves in God. The priest being the mentor and the reminder to the person of how God forgives us.
Reconciliation is often called the sacrament of healing, helping to bridge the gap of the differences between people and at least initiating some “bridge-building “ in the name of Christ. Jesus himself prayed: “That they may be one Father, as we are one. That they may be one in us.” The words “at one” may also be read “atone” – to make one again. The sacrament of Reconciliation is meant to help the community be one again with each other when there are fractures within the community, whether they are small or large, whether they happen between friends, family or the Church itself. Building bridges, thinking it over again (re-counseling) helps that healing take place.
In the parish we celebrate reconciliation in two ways. Communally, which is generally celebrated twice a year on a Saturday during Advent and on a Saturday during Lent, the usual time is 10am. Individually, by appointment by calling the Parish Office (414-464-5033). Reconciliation, whether communally or individually, is always done with the presence of the person and the priest(s) together.