Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mercy, Resurrection, and Reconciliation

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter. We will pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a family for the first time. Today is a good day to reflect on mercy, on reconciliation, on resurrection.

Yesterday my daughter and I went to confession. I have been trying to get to confession more often - every 2 to 4 weeks or so. Going to confession more often has helped relieve the anxiety that I have long felt about confession ever since I was a child. Fortunately, my daughter has almost no anxiety about confession. As I was waiting in line for confession, I realized that the One who waits for me in the tabernacle to be with me is the same One who waits in the confessional to show me mercy. That connection between the Eucharist and Reconciliation helped me to both be less anxious about confession and to see more clearly the connection of the two sacraments.

We attend a couples Bible study each month which I lead. We have been studying the Acts of the Apostles since September. We read from Acts when Paul is before King Agrippa, testifying that he lived as a Pharisee, which was the sect of Judaism that believed in the resurrection of the dead, as opposed to other sects of Judaism, such as the Sadducees:

And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? (Acts 26: 6-8).

Old Testament references to the hope to which Paul refers can be found in Ezekial 37:1-14 ("I will open your graves and have you rise from them") and Hosea 6:1-2 ("He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence").

In his work, The Resurrection of the Dead (210 A.D.), Tertullian links resurrection and reconciliation:

Therefore, the flesh shall rise again; certainly of every man, certainly the same flesh, and certainly its entirety. Wherever it is, in the safekeeping with God through that most faithful agent between God and man, Jesus Christ, who shall reconcile both God to man and man to God, [and]the spirit of the flesh and the flesh to the spirit (63:1).

The resurrection reconciles the body with the soul. Confession reconciles people with God. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us remember that Jesus, who conquered Death, waits for us to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to receive His mercy so that we may be united with Him in the life of the Trinity through grace.

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