The Church continues to bring reconciliation in Christ’s name

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

This initiative [of reconciliation toward sinners] on God’s part is made concrete and manifest in the redemptive act of Christ, which radiates through the world by means of the ministry of the church.

For, according to our faith, the word of God became flesh and came to dwell in the world; he entered into the history of the world) summing it up and recapitulating it in himself.46 He revealed to us that God is love, and he gave us “the new commandment” of love,47 at the same time communicating to us the certainty that the path of love is open for all people, so that the effort to establish universal brotherhood is not a vain one.48 By conquering through his death on the cross evil and the power of sin, by his loving obedience, he brought salvation to all and became “reconciliation for all.” In him God reconciled man to himself.

The church carries on the proclamation of reconciliation which Christ caused to echo through the villages of Galilee and all Palestine49 and does not cease to invite all humanity to be converted and to believe in the good news. She speaks in the name of Christ, making her own the appeal of St. Paul which we have already recalled: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”50

Those who accept this appeal enter into the economy of reconciliation and experience the truth contained in that other affirmation of St. Paul, that Christ “is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility . . . , so making peace” that he “might reconcile us both to God.”51 This text directly concerns the overcoming of the religious division between Israel—as the chosen people of the Old Testament—and the other peoples, all called to form part of the new covenant. Nevertheless it contains the affirmation of the new spiritual universality desired by God and accomplished by him through the sacrifice of his Son, the word made man, without limits or exclusions of any sort, for all those who are converted and who believe in Christ. We are all therefore called to enjoy the fruits of this reconciliation desired by God: every individual and every people.

46 Cf Eph 1:10.
47 Jn 13:34.
48 Cf Second Vatican Council Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 38.
49 Cf Mk 1:15.
50 Cf 2 Cor 5:20.
51 Cf Eph 2:14-16.

Reconciliatio et Pænitentia 10

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