Friday, October 4, 2013

After confession, says St. Chrysostom, a crown is given to penitents.

Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God. - Blessed John Paul II – September 14, 1987 Homily

 Gospel Text: (Lk 10:13-16)
Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me. 
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

As I've shared in the past, repentance ("metanoia" in the Greek) means "to change one's mind," "to change direction." As we are convicted of the sins in our life, we are called to have accountability that involves more than simply turning away from sin but turning toward the Lord and His grace.

We often look at Reconciliation as a chore, an uncomfortable thing we have to do so that we don’t get into too much trouble. But the truth is that this sacrament is one of the best ways for us to encounter God’s grace and power. When we confess our sins, we open the door not only for the Lord to pardon us but also to wash us clean and set us free. Our confession gives Jesus the opportunity to fill us all over again with his peace and the joy of salvation.

In a Year of Faith Lecture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, This is one of the key moments in all of Scripture.  Jesus comes out of the desert on fire with the presence of his Father.  He calls on us to wake up from the darkness in our lives.  He speaks with passion and urgency.  And that's how we need to hear his words, because time matters.  Time is the only thing in life we truly own, and none of us has more than a little of it.  God is near.  The kingdom is coming.  What we do right now to prepare for it - tonight, tomorrow and for however long God gives us in the world - has consequences not only for ourselves, but for the people we touch with our lives.

Part of the problem with repentance, for many people, is centered on the fact that they don't see any immediate benefit because they are looking at life through the wrong lens. They don't see financial gain or material upgrade.

As Archbishop Chaput reminds us, what we do now is not just for the present but our future.

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