Immersed in Christ: Saturday, July 17, 2021
The Sacrament of Encounter
Sharing in the divine life of God—this is why baptism and reconciliation are called sacraments. A sacrament is an invisible interaction with God embodied in a visible interaction with human beings. God can give grace through direct, spiritual interaction with anyone, without using any created intermediaries, means, words, or gestures at all. But in Jesus, God healed, enlightened, and saved people, not only through human words and touches, but by using bread, wine, water, blood, even mud and saliva (see John 9:6)! What we call a “sacramental grace” is a grace (a life-giving “favor” from God) that comes to us through particular physical signs and visible interaction with human beings. So, in sacramental reconciliation, union with God is restored through the visible sign of restored union with the human community of believers.
Like the disciples who met Jesus on the road after his resurrection but only recognized him “in the breaking of the bread,” we look back after the “breaking open” of our hearts and say, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road…?”(Luke 24:32).