Part 1 – Reconciliation
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Resurrection they were utterly amazed, filled with new excitement and enthusiasm. With Jesus, risen victorious from the dead, a New Dawn was breaking upon the world. This New Dawn would arise from numerous hearts in the meeting of two realities: the sad reality of sin with the redeeming power of the Cross. This is why Jesus showed them the wounds in His hands, feet and side, those wounds inflicted by the sin of the world, but now radiant in victory.
As they stood there speechless, gazing in wonder, Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” What is Jesus sending them out to do? And then, St. John says, Jesus breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you for give, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.” Jesus sends them out by the power of the Spirit to be mediators of His own forgiveness–bringing the gift of His mercy to the whole world.
I hope this talk on Confession will deepen in all of us a greater appreciation for this Sacrament that reflects so clearly the love and goodness of God toward us. May it inspire us to celebrate this gift more regularly in our life as a powerful means for conversion, as we grow in our union with God and our love for each other.
Part 2 – Prayer
After the Resurrection our Lord put a very simple, yet profound question to Peter—and Jesus asked him this question three times: “Peter, do you love me?” Now let us replace Peter’s name with ours—because at the heart of our Christian life and all the practices of this Lenten season is this simple, yet all-important question, which the Lord asks us each and every day: “Do you love me?” . . . “Do you love me?” We would do well to let this question ring in our hearts and echo throughout our souls during this time of Lent.
Hopefully our response to this question will always be “yes.” But we also know that this “yes” must translate itself into action, that we must show it by how we live. There are three ways, or three areas where we can manifest and show our love: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I hope these talks will help us to see these practices of the Christian life more and more through the lens of love: the love of God for us, and our love for God and one another.