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Forgiveness, Sin, and McDonald’s Sundaes

I still remember my First Reconciliation. I wore a black dress with a lace collar covered in pink rosebuds. My parents walked me into the confessional and afterwards we celebrated with ice cream sundaes from McDonald’s. It was the first time (of many more!) I experienced the forgiveness of my sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

My sins were forgiven just as Jesus tells the paralytic man, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2)

At this point in His ministry, Jesus had cured many sick people. But in this instance, He takes the opportunity to address a deeper soul issue that needs healing: sin.

Sometimes in Biblical times, sickness was seen as a punishment for sin. Yet here, Jesus sees in the paralyzed man suffering from more than just a physical ailment. There is a deeper reality Jesus wants to restore and heal. Jesus tells him: your sins are forgiven. 

What used to be atoned for through the blood of an animal sacrifice is now accomplished through Jesus. It is as if Jesus says to the man: No, my child, I restore in you what is broken. You now have direct access to forgiveness through Me! I am the healer.

Jesus wants to heal us just as He did the paralyzed man. He wants to restore us. But we have to get rid of the sin. We have to name it and own our part in choosing sin. We have to acknowledge our need for Jesus to be the healer of sin in us.

How long has it been since your last Confession? Whether it has been five weeks or five years, make time this week to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Use this guide to help you prepare well in your heart and mind.

Patty Breen is a full-time lay minister who finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, and all things Ignatian spirituality. A Midwest gal from the mitten state, she is constantly learning to find grace in all things. She is passionate about ministry to divorced Catholic and women whose relationships have been impacted by sexual addiction. Find out more about her here.

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