Living Stones 3

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RECONCILIATION

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FROM THE POPE'S LETTER

Pope John Paul invites us ˙to face the crisis of ¬the sense of sin' apparent in today's culture” and calls for ˙a rediscovery of Christ... the one in whom God shows us his compassionate heart and reconciles us fully with himself. It is this face of Christ that must be rediscovered through the Sacrament of Penance, which for the faithful is "the ordinary way of obtaining forgiveness and the remission of serious sins committed after Baptism". c.f. Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II - Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium),# 37

Take some time of silence to reflect on these words and on the picture on the cover.

A TIME FOR SHARING YOUR FAITH:

The ninth of the new Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament depicts Jesus falling for the third time. After spending time reflecting on the picture share what the image says to you?

Yet ours were the sufferings he bore,
ours the sorrows he carried.
But we, we thought of him as someone punished,
struck by God, and brought low.
Yet he was pierced through for our faults,
crushed for our sins.
On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,
and through his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Does Christ's suffering and death bring guilt or healing? What has been your experience?

How have you discovered the face of Christ through the Sacrament of Penance?

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Luke 15:11-24

A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, ˙Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, ˙How many of my father's paid servants have more food than they want, and here I am dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants. 'Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.' And they began to celebrate.

Take some time of silence to reflect on these words.

LET GOD'S WORD SPEAK TO YOU:

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you? How easy is it for you to go to Reconciliation? In your life what feelings surface when you need to say sorry?

But the father said to his servants. 'Quick! Bring out the best robe... we are going to have a feast.' Do you have this experience of the forgiveness of God? Discuss.

Can you forgive others as Christ forgives us?

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, you are the Father of us all.
You created the human family
to dwell for ever with you
and to praise your glory.

Open our ears to hear your voice
so that we may return to you
with sincere repentance for our sins.
Teach us to see in you our loving Father,
full of compassion for all who call to you for help.

We know that you long to set us free from evil
and that you are ready to forgive our sins.
Restore your gift of salvation
which alone brings true happiness,
so that we may all return to our Father's house
and share your table now and for ever. Amen.

Produced by the Catholic Diocese of
Christchurch
for the Centennial of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Please feel free to reproduce