God has now reconciled you. 

 

Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was struck by several bullets as he drove through a huge crowd in St. Peter’s Square.   The assassination attempt put him in critical condition in the hospital, and he bore pain and discomfort from it for the rest of his life.

Shortly after the shooting, the pope asked people, “Pray for my brother [his attacker] . . . whom I have sincerely forgiven.”   Then two years later, he went even further. He visited his would-be killer in prison to personally convey his forgiveness.   By reaching out to his enemy in this way, John Paul gave the whole world a living, unforgettable illustration of God’s love in action.

The picture of St. John Paul speaking intently with his attacker in a stark prison cell has become one of the most moving of his whole pontificate.   It shows the pope living out today’s passage:   “You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds;   God has now reconciled you” (Colossians 1:21-22).

In other words, God has always loved us, even when we didn’t love him back.   Even when we were “hostile in mind” toward him, he reached out to us and offered his forgiveness (Colossians 1:21).   Even when we were “alienated” from him because of sin, he bridged the gap between us and drew us close to his heart (1:21).   On the cross, Jesus embraced everyone, saint and sinner alike—including you—all because he loves you.

Isn’t it incredible that God calls us his friends, even when we have turned away from him?   Isn’t it incredible as well that this friendship is eternal?   Of course it’s incredible!   But this is who our God is.   This is the One we call “Father.”   He is completely faithful to his promises, and he offers us his forgiveness, no matter how far we have fallen.

So if there is anything between you and the Lord, get it cleared up.   Whether you have never repented or you have done it a thousand times, turn to God again.   Confess that you have fallen short.   Tell him that you have turned away from his love, but you want to make a fresh start.   Most parishes offer Confession on Saturday afternoon. Jesus is waiting to embrace you, just as Pope St. John Paul II embraced his onetime enemy.

“Lord, thank you for reconciling me and making me your friend.”

Psalm 54:3-4, 6, 8
Luke 6:1-5

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