Sunday, December 9, 2018

Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God.

Those, on the other hand, who recognize that they are weak and sinful entrust themselves to God and obtain from him grace and forgiveness. It is precisely this message that must be transmitted: what counts most is to make people understand that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, whatever the sin committed, if it is humbly recognized and the person involved turns with trust to the priest-confessor, he or she never fails to experience the soothing joy of God's forgiveness. - Pope Benedict XVI – On the Sacrament of Confession 

Gospel Text: (LK 3:1-6)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Take a very common example of sacrifice to reflect on what God calls us to during Advent. There are a lot of different sacrifices that parents are called to make to prepare for their unborn child. Parents have to be ready to sacrifice space: for example, to figure out where the child is going to sleep. Parents have to be ready to sacrifice money, of course: lots of money, for all sorts of needs.

Parents also have to be ready to sacrifice some of their favorite vices. They have to be ready to become less selfish, and more self-less. The problem for all of us is that the longer we cling to our vices, the more entrenched those vices become in our lives, and the harder they become to give up. This is one of the difficulties faced by those who wait until later in life to bear children.

Yet what is challenging for parents as they prepare for their child, is challenging for each of us as we prepare for the Christ child. The greater the sacrifices that we are willing to make, through examining our consciences, confessing our sins, and accepting the grace of reconciliation, the greater the joy that we will be open to, throughout the entire Christmas Season and throughout this new year of grace.

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