There is something wonderful about being able to minister the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is not only a tremendous privilege to have people open up their lives in such an intimate and personal way to me, it is also tremendously satisfying to see the work of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament bringing forgiveness to the penitent. One great consolation for me as a priest is that the power and effectiveness of the Sacrament is not dependent upon me, but on the God for its power and success.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation ministers the forgiveness of God to the penitent person. We need to remember that we are also called to minister the same forgiveness to one another! This is not just an option in the life of a Christian. It is our duty to minister forgiveness to one another. When I sin against you and you against me, we are called by the Gospel to reconcile ourselves with one another before approaching the Eucharistic Table. Why? Simply because when we receive Holy Communion we are proclaiming that we are in union with all other people doing the same thing that day. Obviously, if I am out of relationship with someone because of sin, then I ought to fix the problem before returning to receive Holy Communion.

The joy of Jesus will be complete when our own joy is complete. This cannot occur unless we are in good relationship with one another and have forgiven each other for all of the sins we may have committed against one another. We ought to be vigilant in our lives to the effect that we seek reconciliation as soon as we are aware that there is something wrong in any of our relationships. The longer we allow a sin to fester, the more difficult and painful it becomes to deal with it when we eventually get around to doing so.

Let us try, then to be vigilant in our relationships and keep ourselves open to forgiving one another should sin occur. It is obvious that it is better to avoid sin in the first place, however, people being people, it is fairly certain that we will have to deal with sin in our relationships sooner or later.

How willingly do I forgive those who approach me and ask for my forgiveness for something they have done to or against me? Do I find it easy to forgive others?

Jesus, you forgive me even as I am in the process of sinning. You do not want anything to come between us in our relationship. Help me to be humble enough to accept your offer of forgiveness and grant me the grace to avoid sin in the future.