Third Sunday of Advent Homily 2014 (Reconciliation)

In this season on preparation, John the Baptist tell us that part of what we need to do to prepare is Penance.  Well, the mere mention of that is usually when the heads go down and the scowls start to appear….


What a gift we have in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but what a generally wretched and awful experience we have of it.  I hate it. I absolutely hate going to confession. Because you don’t always like what you love.


Two reasons for this – they might ring true for you as well.


First – deep wounds – I remember going to confession as a kid and even as an adult – being yelled at by some priest who was simply a mean sob and who made me feel like garbage.  That is nothing less than abuse – spiritual and mental abuse.   And on behalf of the Church, I apologize if you ever had an experience like that. 


Second reason I hate to go – simple pride.  I hate admitting to myself that I screw up.  I hate confronting my own shortcomings, the ways in which I deliberately and knowingly turned away from God and chose sin over love.  That’s a big pill to swallow.  Best homily on reconciliation I ever heard was very very short – the priest said, “we can be so stubborn in admitting how we have messed up – but that stubbornness turns into stupidity when we refuse to allow God to heal us.  Don’t be stupid, go to confession.”   Brilliantly Simple.


My promise to you is this – I am there to offer you the love and forgiveness of God. Period, no questions asked. If you want spiritual direction or a long conversation that’s fine, but make an appointment, confession is not the time for that – it’s a time for forgiveness.  I will not, I will never ever yell at you or scold you in there.  I promised myself when I was ordained that if I ever do that in the confessional, I will hang up my stole and walk away from this immediately.  Tell me what you did, tell me you’re sorry, tell me you will try to not do it again.  Simple as that and you are good to go.  


And if you don’t remember how to go or you’re worried about remembering the act of contrition, I don’t care – all I need you to do is sit in the chair and say, “Fr., I screwed up.”  The Holy Spirit will take it from there.  


Bottom line -  We need let go of the sin and the hurt, and allow God… really allow God to heal us – nothing is worth standing in the way of that.  Jesus gives us a gift in this Sacrament, it's time we get over ourselves and  start to use it.   


This week, we have three penance services scheduled throughout the valley, make use of them.  Over the next two weeks I will be here sittin in that box an extra 8 hours or so for Confession - just for you - make use of it.   


Let us all allow God to bring joy into our lives this holy season – let’s remove whatever obstacles we have put in the way of that happening, and let's make sure we are truly prepared to receive Christ anew in just 12 days from now.  God help us all. +


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