Prayer and reconciliation

by | Apr 2, 2022 | Presence

Lent is a time of prayer and also of reconciliation. All Catholics are required to receive the Eucharist once each year during the Easter season (which runs from Easter until Pentecost). To do so, then, most people receive the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent. Easter weekend is also a time when we see more of our family and friends, many of whom have left the Catholic church or given up belief in God altogether. It can be a time, then, of receiving passive-aggressive shots at our Faith and even outward attacks. 

We shouldn’t overlook that reconciliation must take place outside the confessional too, within our relationships. This might seem impossible to do while dodging those passive-aggressive shots from brother John or Aunt Sally. If nothing else, hearing our salvation history in mass readings during this period should remind us that God really is bigger than the bad attitude of our in-laws! 

But our salvation history also gives us Hope through examples of families in turmoil who then reconcile. Looking at Jacob who married his cousins Rachel and Leah (only because Uncle Laban tricked him into marrying Leah first). Relations got to the point where he had to pick up and flee for his life with the whole family (Gen 31). At the same time, he was in an even bigger row with his brother Esau who comes after him with a small army. Jacob’s response: (1) prayed to God (2) chose the very best of his flocks to give as gift to Esau and (3) made arrangements for safety of women and children.  How he prays is important to note: he first professes his unworthiness followed by his petition which itself is an act of faith. And that petition isn’t just to save his own butt; rather, it’s on behalf of “all, the mothers with the children”. Then he professes God’s spoken Truth, His promise (Gen 32:9-12).

 “When you put Jesus first, others second, and yourself last those first three letters are J-O-Y and that spells joy.” (St. ‘Mother’ Teresa of Calcutta)

God put us into our family precisely to pray for them. If we don’t, who will? Conversion happens, and then reconciliation. But these must first take place in our own heart. 😊 

For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life. (Lev 17:11)


Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. (John 6:53-55)


It is already April, and in less than 2 weeks it will be Holy Thursday. Although we celebrate the mass and Eucharist year-round, in a special way we keep the memorial of the Last Supper as Jesus asked of us. With the creation of Adam and Eve, God brought mankind into a covenant with Him. In spite of the failings of humans throughout time, He renewed it with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David. Now that covenant is perfected in Jesus Christ. In biblical times, only part of the offering for the sacrifice was used (bread, grains, etc.), and through that any remaining parts were then made Holy. These were eaten first by the Priest offering the sacrifice and then the people taking part in it (Lev 7:15-17). Sound familiar? It is our mass. And to eat food used in a sacrifice was to worship the god to whom the sacrifice was made; hence we say “Amen” as our profession of believing in ALL the church teaches before we receive this Eucharist. This, then, was the understanding of the apostles as to the sacrifice Jesus made of His body and blood at that table; He the High Priest turning the bread and wine into His body and blood, in which they (not He) then partook. And so do we. 

For that reason, let us continue to pray for our worldwide church especially Pope Francis, all clergy, religious and those on the path. 

A priest’s body also is a vessel of holiness, set apart for the service of the altar only, blessed by the imposition of the Bishops hands, consecrated by the chrism of Ordination, cut off from human love and earthly pleasures by a solemn vow of Chastity. Round that frail but sacred body the Almighty has thrown His protecting arms and thunders His woes against its violators: “Touch not the Lords anointed, for I have separated you from other people, that you should be Mine.” (Rev. William Doyle SJ)[i]

 Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊 



[i] Rev. William Doyle SJ Shall I Be A Priest? Imprimatur 1929



Image by Heinrich Hofmann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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