Christ’s Easter gift to us: Sacrament of Reconciliation Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Pope Francis encourages us Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent, the season of conversion.

Beginning with St. Peter, popes and bishops have taught that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Christ forgives our sins and helps us to grow spiritually as Peter did.

On Good Friday, Peter, who bragged that he would never deny Christ, denied him three times.

After Peter’s third denial as soldiers led Jesus past Peter, Jesus looked with forgiveness into Peter’s eyes, the windows of his soul. Peter wept because he recognized that though his sins helped to crucify Christ, Christ forgave him.

On Good Friday, filled with fear and shame, the apostles hid behind closed doors.

In John 20:19-23 on Easter evening, Jesus stood in the apostles’ midst, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

A gift from Christ

Christ foresaw that like Peter, we would sin, so he gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation to help us grow spiritually.

Reconcile means to bring together (again) and to restore our relationship with those whom we sinned against.

Absolution gives us assurance that Christ has forgiven our sins and granted us “pardon and peace.”

Jesus Christ died on the cross to free us from sin so that he might offer us the gift of eternal life and help us live a Christ-like life.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, “All mortal sins of which penitents after diligent self-examination are conscious must be confessed by them.”

It also says, “The regular confession of our venial sins helps us to form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ, and progress in the life of the Spirit.”

I enjoy hearing confessions, and I try to reflect and share God’s mercy. I am moved by the faith, respect, and trust of penitents who seek forgiveness and spiritual guidance in their faith journey.

Confession during Lent

Pope Francis, encourages us to especially receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent.

When we do so worthily, our reception of God’s merciful forgiveness in the sacrament will help us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with renewed faith during Holy Week, the Easter Season, and beyond.

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.