Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Believing and confessing go together

“Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’s saying to the Lord, 'Lord, I am a sinner,' but saying it through a brother, because this says it concretely. 'I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing.'” – Pope Francis

Gospel Text: (MK 7:14-23)
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
“Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”

The gospel today is a cautionary tale. It doesn’t say that these sinful actions HAVE to come out of us, however; it says that they CAN come out of us. I think this is the key because it indicates that within us are also the blessings of compassion, respect, generosity, and honesty, among many others.

Whether blessings and gifts (or conversely, harm and defilement) come from within us is a CHOICE and a challenge that we must address ourselves, in our own lives. It is about our own self-awareness.

Only our will can spoil the Divine Plan. And we must watch that this is not so.

The mission Jesus charges us with is to clean —with the help of His grace, daily prayer and the Sacraments— all that contaminates ourselves and the world around us.

Often when a priest suggests confession to someone—they say something like: “Oh, Father, It has been so long since my last confession—that if I were to go to confession, it would take hours—we’d never get finished!” In addition, “Some say: Ah, I confess to God, which is like confessing by email, no? Pope Francis stressed that in the face of confession,” we should have the attitude of a small child, because when a child comes to confess, he never says something general.” They have that simplicity of the truth.

Have no fear in approaching Jesus to tell him your sins. He is a friend of sinners. Through frequent confession and reception of Holy Communion we can conquer our habits of sin and live the life of grace.

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