Of the seven sacraments of the Church, the one I find most humbling is the sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. Why? People entrust priests with the sins that they cannot even tell their spouses or best friends. They trust that their deep, dark secrets are only between them and God.
In the Gospel, we are reminded that God and the heavens are happiest when a person repents, when a person changes his or her sinful ways, and when a person goes to Confession.
Three reflections about confessions:
- Why confess to a priest? While it is true that God alone can forgive sins, we must be reminded that Authority was given to the Church. In James we are told, “Whose sins you forgive, are forgiven.”
- Why confess to a priest? Because when a person sins, he or she hurts three people: God, the people around them, and themselves. Hence, when the priest forgives he is not only forgiving because of the Authority of the Church. He also speaks and forgives on behalf of the community that he or she has hurt.
- Why confess to a priest? Because it is so comforting to hear the words, “And I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Further, the feeling of relief when we unburden ourselves of our sins and dark secrets. On the other hand, my apologies for the times that we priests have not been instruments of healing. For times we were irritated, grouchy and lacked compassion.
That is why in the Mass, we remember three things:
- All of us have sinned and there is no sin that God cannot forgive.
- God and the heavens are happiest when we go to confession.
- God’s time is different from our time. We might lose the chance to confess because we always think that there is time.