Twice in today’s Gospel, the disciples fear answering Jesus. The first, they feel confused about his statements, but don’t want to ask questions. The second time, Jesus recognizes their petty bickering. When asked what they are discussing, they look at Jesus silently, unwilling to acknowledge their wrongdoing. I am a prideful fellow myself, so I understand the disciples’ predicament. I am stubborn and do not like to ask for help, nor do I like my offenses pointed out.

What perfect timing then that our wonderful Pope Francis recently made a strong statement for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Francis said that we should not be afraid of the sacrament, even though it may sometimes feel daunting. What a similar emotion as the disciples today!

Reconciliation offers not just the opportunity to feel freer from our sins—it allows us to more fully approach Jesus and perhaps ask those questions of confusion or doubt. Francis ended his statement saying, “To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation means to be wrapped in a warm embrace.” We can be the child that Christ picks up and receives into the Kingdom. What grace!

—Ken Homan, S.J. is a Jesuit brother from the Wisconsin Province. He is currently studying history and theology at Fordham University, New York.