Dealing with our “inside” pain through Reconciliation … frees us to embrace the Resurrection and new life, now!


Dealing with our “inside” pain through Reconciliation … frees us to embrace the Resurrection and new life, now!

Third Sunday of Easter – April 14, 2024

And that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses to this.

In a world where so many people carry hurts and bruises, or are desperately looking for meaning, this message of Christ after his resurrection is a breath of fresh air.
We seem to live in a world of condemnation and name calling.

Which really means that many people live with the fear of rejection, and fear of what others think about us for much of our lives: especially when we are younger.  It is really concerning how few hours young people spend making friends and being active with real people.

Many young people are engrossed in hundreds of virtual friendships that lack the personal emotional touch that we all need to be healthy and happy.  Instead, we are developing a false front, and hope people won’t see our weaknesses or ordinariness. When we are hurt, we can so easily hurt others as we deal with our anger and fear.

But, what if we could imitate Jesus Christ?, who reveals his full humanity and wounded-ness to the apostles: there was no request for revenge, or any condemnation of those who made Christ suffer.  No, we hear only the desire for people to experience their own kind of resurrection by seeking forgiveness and freedom from fear, anger and shame.

Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.”  And, each time we fail, Christ is very patient.  Through John we are told: “but if anyone should sin, we have our advocate with the Father…”  This was a great help in the early Church Fathers developing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and dealing with the early persecutions of Christians when some feared for their lives and apostatised.

The Good News (especially the resurrection), teaches us not about God’s anger for our sins, but about God’s desire to remove our sadness and fear through total forgiveness.  The second decade of the glorious mysteries is “Jesus ascended into Heaven”.  What do you think about as you pray that mystery?  It should include the concept that Jesus had completely forgiven everyone involved with his torture and death.

We have to let go, in order to reach Heaven. Anger and bitterness prevent us entering Heaven here on earth.

What we must understand, first of all, is that we are people heavily influenced by our experiences, and the way we were treated, as children and teenagers and even as adults.

We all carry wounds into adulthood; along with the defences we developed to protect ourselves. It could be anger, isolation, avoidance of certain people, ignore other people’s suffering, lust after money or materials or sex: all as substitutes for the love that we truly desire.

Sin simply keeps us from reaching or building Heaven here on earth. The resurrection is not a means to sort out who is getting into Heaven and who is not. The gift of reconciliation is for all of us: it’s about healing the past, not just forgiveness.

Although many people dislike the need to confess to someone else, the psychological and emotional benefits are necessary to rise above the past: something positive happens.
To keep our pain/ sins secret prolongs the torture of those sins in our lives.  Whether the sins belong to us or the person who abused us, we need to expel them, so that healing may begin.

We thank God, our Catholic Church holds the secrecy of Reconciliation very strictly. It gives us courage to expel the sins of the past, and believe in our God-given goodness.
The Resurrection invites us to rise above past injustices, and a new life is possible.

I pray each of us has the courage to expel the past and embrace the future: God made you good: trust in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Happy Easter!

By Gerard Conlan, OMI