The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist are bound together in a loving embrace for the people of God to enjoy throughout their lives. In his book The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen brings us to an acute awareness of what is God’s loving embrace.
“...God dwells in my innermost being, but how could I accept Jesus’ call: “Make your home in me as I make mine in you”?... to make my home where God had made his, this is the great spiritual challenge. It seemed an impossible task.” (16)
For us to accept Jesus’ invitation, Pope John-Paul ll’s apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (Reconciliation and Penance)(December 2, 1984) help us to better appreciate Jesus’ call. God the Father, to whom we confess our sins through Christ’s representative, the priest, is “rich in mercy.” Thus Reconciliation is a gift on His part. The Church’s “mission of reconciliation is the initiative, full of compassionate love and mercy, of that God who is love.” Our act of confession and performing our penance reconciles us with God and Church. It is with this understanding that the mystery of the Sacrament of Reconciliation allows the penitent to be fitted as a home of Christ in the Eucharist.