What does it mean to be reconciled to God and to one another?
The season of Lent is a time to focus on our ministry of reconciliation. St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians:
“If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:17-18)
Lent reminds us that no matter who we are or what we have done, we have been reconciled to God in Jesus Christ. The cross shows us how much God loves us and desires to bridge the chasm of sin and anything else that separates us from God.
At the same time, St. Paul reminds us that it is not just about a vertical relationship that is restored with God that matters. For, just as we have been reconciled to God through Christ, we are called to be reconciled to one another. This means reaching out to the neighbor in love, forgiveness, and mercy. It means building up another’s reputation, not tearing it down. It means working for justice for all people.
A Boy Scout in Mukilteo, WA has sought to his part by choosing to work with the International Refugee Committee as his Eagle project. David had seen news about the need of refugee families in his community and wanted to find some way to help. He collected one hundred backpacks for school-age children, filling them with supplies and snacks as well as a personal note welcoming them as new residents and wishing them well. By doing so, this young man was carrying out a “ministry of reconciliation” and making a difference for good in his community.
Our nation needs more of these examples if we are to overcome the polarization and prejudice that serves to divide us. We must find ways to restore relationships and be reconciled to one another. This is the only hopeful way forward.
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