Pastor's Pen, 1st Lenten Sunday

Due to a very heavy schedule this week, Fr. John was unable to provide us with his weekly note. We offer this wonderful Catechesis from Pope Francis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. -Anna

Through the Sacraments of Christian initiation -- Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist -- a person receives new life in Christ. Now we have this life “in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7), we are still subject to temptation, to suffering, to death and, because of sin, we can even lose this new life. This is why the Lord Jesus wished His Church to continue His work of salvation, in particular with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and that of the Anointing of the Sick, which can be united under the name of “Sacraments of Healing.” The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a Sacrament of healing.

When I go to confession, it is to heal myself, to heal my soul, to heal my heart and anything that isn’t going well. The Sacrament of Penance and of Reconciliation flows directly from the Paschal Mystery. In fact, on the very evening of Easter the Lord appeared to the disciples, locked in the Cenacle and, after greeting them saying ”Peace be with you!,” he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (John 20:21-23). This passage reveals to us the most profound dynamic that is contained in this Sacrament. First of all, the fact that the forgiveness of our sins is not something that we can give ourselves. I cannot say: I forgive my sins. Forgiveness is asked, it is asked of another and in Confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our efforts but it is a present, a gift of the Holy Spirit, who fills us with the purification of mercy and grace which flows incessantly from the wide open heart of Christ crucified and risen. In the second place, it reminds us that only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled in the Lord Jesus with the Father and with our brothers can we really be in peace. And we all have heard this in the heart when we go to confess ourselves, with a weight in the soul, a bit of sadness; and when we receive the forgiveness of Jesus we are in peace, with that peace of the soul that is so beautiful that only Jesus can give, only Him.

Do not be afraid of Confession! When one is in line to confess, they feel [fragile] things, even shame, but then when Confession is ended, they feel free, great, beautiful, forgiveness, white (clean), happy. And this is the beauty of Confession! I would like to ask you when was the last time you confessed, that you have confessed? Has it been two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years? Everyone takes count, but everyone ask themselves: when was the last time that I confessed? And if a long time has passed, don’t miss another day, go, the priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is much better than the priests, Jesus receives you, He receives you with so much love. Be courageous and go to Confession! Dear friends, to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation means to be wrapped in a warm embrace: it is the embrace of the infinite mercy of the Father. Let us remember that beautiful, beautiful parable of the son who left his home with the inheritance money; he squandered all the money, and then, when he didn’t have anything, he decided to return home, not as a son, but as a servant. So many faults he had in his heart and so much shame. The surprise was when he began to speak, to ask forgiveness, the father did not let him speak, he embraced him, he kissed him and made a feast.

But I tell you: every time we confess, God embraces us, God makes a feast! Let us go forward on this path. May God bless you.

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Parish Bulletin, 1st Sunday of Lent279.19 KB

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