Our readings this Sunday make multiple references to the authority God has delegated to individual people for the sake of humanity in general. The Prophet Isaiah refers to the authority of the King of Israel, and Jesus refers to the binding and loosing power over sin that He has entrusted to Peter and thus to the Church. I want to draw attention, however, to the quotation from Psalm 132:
“I will give thanks to your name, because of your kindness and your truth: When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me.”
We often think of the Sacrament of Reconciliation only as a sacrament of healing; God forgives us and separates us or “looses” us from our sins. Yet this is not the complete picture. Reconciliation also includes us rejoicing in God’s merciful kindness: “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace.” “Thanks be to God!” we reply. Thanksgiving is an integral part of restoring our relationship with God.
We also enjoy the gift of Fortitude as the Holy Spirit helps us to fight against future sins. We pray in our Act of Contrition: “I firmly resolve, with the help of your Grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.” God gives us the strength to amend our lives. God provides the fortitude that was lacking in us when we fell into sin. Now, with God’s help, sin will not prevail. We are loosed from sin in this life so that we may live forever free from sin in heaven. This is the power of God at work in the Sacrament of Reconciliation: sin loses; God wins, and we are the prize!
O, what joy we have, that God has answered our plea for mercy and called us back to Himself!