Reconciliation to the Father begins with Christ’s redeeming sacrifice

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Pænitentia (1984):

As we deduce from the parable of the prodigal son, reconciliation is a gift of God, an initiative on his part. But our faith teaches us that this initiative takes concrete form in the mystery of Christ the redeemer, the reconciler and the liberator of man from sin in all its forms. St. Paul likewise does not hesitate to sum up in this task and function the incomparable mission of Jesus of Nazareth, the word and the Son of God made man.

We too can start with this central mystery of the economy of salvation, the key to St. Paul’s Christology. “If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” writes St. Paul, “much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.”22 Therefore, since “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” Paul feels inspired to exhort the Christians of Corinth: “Be reconciled to God.”23

This mission of reconciliation through death on the cross is spoken of in another terminology by the evangelist John, when he observes that Christ had to die “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”24

22 Cf Rom 5:10f.; cf Col 1:20-22.
23 Cf 2 Cor 5:18, 20.
24 Jn 11:52.

Reconciliatio et Pænitentia 7

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