What do the Scriptures today teach us about God?
He welcomes us back; yet the false god must be destroyed.
God is merciful—but also just.
The readings raise the question: is God angry?
From the first reading, it seems so.
But that’s not really what’s going on.
God did not need Moses to explain mercy to him.
See, what’s really happening is that
Moses needs to have the insight—to plead for mercy.
That’s why it happens this way.
Look at the Parable:
The Father is not angry; but he is filled with longing.
He “caught sight” of the boy while “still a long way off.”
When do you usually notice a speck on the horizon—
is it not when you’re out there, searching and hoping?
Jesus tells us: if we are away from the Father,
we may happily forget all about Him—
but He never forgets about us!
The lost son came back to re-earn his Father’s favor.
But notice: the Father ran to him, embracing him!
God’s Favor is a gift: we respond to it—it changes us;
but we never earn it!
Parents: this sort of embrace
may be the easiest gift you’ll give your children—
all it costs is your pride.
If we have bad memories, we can’t go back,
but we can be compassionate now.
This is a great time to talk about
the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Will the priest be angry or think less of you? No.
Like the Father in parable, when a parent welcomes back a child,
friends or siblings embrace again—
in what way is that awful or demeaning—it’s wonderful!
For the priest, that’s what the confessional is.
It’s one of the best experiences of being a priest.
Some will say, it’s been too long—I don’t know how.
Don’t worry about it.
I’m going to take a couple minutes to review how;
there’s a handout, at the doors, that will help;
but in any case, just ask the priest!
Here’s how you do it.
First, pray and reflect on your life.
If we do this frequently, we won’t have
dark corners in our lives we’re afraid to face.
This handout gives questions you can use,
and the basic form of confession.
When you come to the priest, you choose:
face-to-face or anonymously.
Make the sign of the cross.
After the priest says “welcome,” or a prayer,
you say, “Bless me father, for I have sinned.
It has been”—say how long—
“since my last confession. Here are my sins.”
No, you don’t have to do just that way,
but this helps get you started, so you don’t feel awkward.
Tell your sins, and only your sins—not the stories,
not what wrong things other people did!
It can be very easy to get off-track.
Don’t leave out any mortal sins—
mention them by type and number.
This can be awkward, but here’s why we do this:
Reconciliation requires a starting-point of honesty.
Sometimes we hedge or minimize.
If we go to a doctor, we don’t just say,
“I hurt somewhere” or “sometime,”
but we say, “I hurt here”—
“it hurts once a week” or “once a day.”
You don’t have to mention all venial sins.
But the confessional is the spiritual garbage dump—
Feel free to get rid of it all!
The priest may give advice or ask a question.
Don’t worry—we never repeat anything.
We prefer to forget everything we hear!
I pray to forget, and I do!
We will give you a penance, which is a prayer,
or something you do, as your part of the healing.
The priest will ask you—or help you—
to say an “Act of Sorrow.”
Most important, as part of a longer prayer,
the priest will say, “I absolve you”—this is when
the Father forgives and forgets your sins, forever,
and clothes you once again with a robe of salvation.
We do this every Saturday—9 am at St. Boniface,
3:30 pm at St. Mary—the priest is waiting for you.
Wednesday evenings, 5 pm, in St. Clare chapel.
If those times don’t work, call us.
All you have to say is,
“meet me in the confessional, so I can be anonymous.”
We’ll be waiting.
Every Mass we have a sacrificial feast—
not a calf, but the Lamb, the Son of God.
But we don’t come casually;
If we have been away from the Father,
if we need to be brought back to life,
that’s what the Sacrament of Penance is for.
Our Father is not angry—but He’s looking for us:
to welcome us back, to forget and heal,
and to give us back the dignity that belongs to us.