September 3, 2011 - Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the church

Today's Readings

When I think of reconciliation with God, I tend to think that since I committed a sin, God is angry and, when I reconcile, God stops being angry with me. This is how reconciliation often works with a fellow human being, but St. Paul turns this idea on its head. He does not say that we have reconciled God but that “God has now reconciled you”. Why do we need to be reconciled? Because we “once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds.” How odd! We committed sins, and then we were angry with God. The problem is within us, not within God. God is not refusing to welcome us; we are refusing to come back.

Our minds are angry with God because of the sins we have committed. God has provided us with everything imaginable, but then we demand to commit sins. We are angry because he tells us that we should not. We are like a toddler who wants to touch the fire and screams because he is told that he cannot. Reconciliation is not just because our sins have made us ugly in the sight of God. Reconciliation occurs when we stop throwing this temper-tantrum.

How do we get reconciled? “In the fleshly Body of Christ through his death.” The death of Jesus Christ holds the power of reconciliation. We must die and join our death to his death. When we die to greed we will stop living for money and possessions. When we die to lust we will stop living for pleasure. When we die to envy we will stop living to triumph over others. If you are willing to die to these and every sin, then you will be reconciled to God because you will no longer be hostile and resentful of his interference.

When we stop complaining like a sullen teenager that God will not let us do ANYTHING, when we stop resenting God and start loving him, then we will find that he (like any good parent) never stopped loving us; then the healing can begin. He will make us holy, without blemish, irreproachable. Though our sins are like scarlet, he will make us white as snow. Though we have brought ourselves down to the depths of Hell, he will raise us up to heaven so that we can dwell with him.