Our Church Family: A Place of Reconciliation
The Dominican Friars of Holy Rosary hear close to 250 confessions every week. It is one of the few places in the Metropolitan Area of Houston that has daily confessions. Even more astounding, Holy Rosary is only one of a handful of some 150 parishes serving the archdiocese which has twice-daily confessions. Therefore, can we say that Holy Rosary Parish is a place of reconciliation? Certainly, many are receiving the Sacrament of Penance, but does that make our church family a reconciling family?
Participating in a reconciling family goes well beyond how many of us observe the sacrament. Don't get me wrong, the sacramental grace can serve as the foundational force sustaining our church family as a reconciling family. But we must also participate in creating a place where "justice will produce lasting peace and security" (Isaiah 32:17). Two themes keep us from becoming a reconciling church family: anger and our attachment to the polarized, political environment of our time. First, Jesus' notion of justice is not naive anger but justice which intentionally forgives by turning the other check (Matthew 5:29). Secondly, our life as Christians and our participation in our church family does not view "peace and justice" as being an ''alt-left vs. alt-right" platform issue. Rather, we are called to "welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God!" (Romans 15:7)
To this effect, I leave you with the words of Pope St. John Paul II who said, "It [peace] rests above all on the adoption of a style of human coexistence marked by mutual acceptance and a capacity to forgive from the heart. We all need to be forgiven by others, so we must all be ready to forgive. Asking and granting forgiveness is something profoundly worthy of every one of us." (World Day for Peace 1997).