Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
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The Lenten Season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: Charity. Both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the Word of God and the Holy Sacraments, this is a favorable time to renew our journey of Faith. This journey is marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in anticipation of the joy of Easter.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation certainly take the spotlight in this Lenten journey. Quite honestly, many Catholics do not like to go to Confession. It’s like going to the dentist – a prayerful duty which weak human nature tries to postpone as long as possible. So why does the Church insist on this “unpopular” Sacrament? Simply put – because this Sacrament is the plan of Jesus Christ – and because it is powerful, even necessary for us if we hope to make any progress in the Christian life.
Our Lord Jesus’ very first preaching was: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17). He regarded sin as so serious that He died for the forgiveness of sins. John the Baptist pointed out Our Lord as “The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). Sadly, we contribute to that global sin when as individuals or community we reject God’s will and substitute our own. After His Resurrection did not Our Lord breathe upon the faithful Apostles and told them to forgive sins or to withhold forgiveness with an authority that reached into Heaven (Jn 20:22-23)?
The ideal Catholic life, therefore, makes full use of Christ’s plan for forgiving sins. To neglect this comforting and healing Sacrament will do us spiritual harm. Our Lord Jesus in the presence of His priest is here to lift the burden, the darkness, the self-loathing which are the consequences of our personal sinfulness. Step one, then, in this Lenten journey is the good and thorough “Examination of Conscience.” Available in all of our churches are pamphlets to assist us in preparing for the good confession. Every day of the week your priests are in the confessional, with special times on Monday evening, Friday mornings and, of course, Saturday afternoon and evening, anxiously and happily awaiting to extend God’s mercy and forgiveness. It is the one well which never runs dry. Come be refreshed in the water of forgiveness and be restored to the cleanliness and brilliance of your Baptismal day.
Our heartfelt congratulations to all our children who made their First Confession this Saturday morning. Thank you parents and catechists for preparing them and encouraging them on this important milestone in the Catholic life.