March 31- Reconciliation
Mar 30, 2019
Scriptures: I love the first reading, it is a foreshadowing for us of a truth we have yet to experience. Jesus heard the cry of the Hebrew people as they were enslaved and cruelly treated in Egypt. He set them free and lead them through the Red Sea. Due to their disobedience, despite being saved, the people were stiff necked and faithless. For this, the Lord would have them wander the desert for forty years. But God still nurtured them with manna and s disciplined them in the desert. When finally they took possession of the Promised land and began to yield its fruit, God stopped providing them Mana from heaven. When this world passes away after the 2nd coming of Jesus, we too will enter our promised land, and once we partake the fruits of heaven, we will no longer receive the eucharist. The full sacrifice of Christ would be fulfilled and a complete unity will replace the sacramental unity we rely on today. The second reading is also amazing as it speaks of the ministry of reconciliation. St. Paul reports not only of the duty to deliver Christ's mercy through reconciliation, but also to proactively teach its importance. The prodigal son story is to remind us and the whole world, that even if we are faithful, the Lord waits upon the road for our return.
Core Faith Principle: As a rule, the Catholic Church asks all its faithful to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year. We often think about confession in terms of how "Bad" we've been. However, that is like looking at showers as how smelly you are. There should be some level of routine maintenance that we don't always wait until we are smelly to take a shower. Reconciliation is as much a cure as it is preventative care for your soul. One of my favorite things that has changed after Vatican II is that the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been reoriented to be a peaceful encounter with the merciful Lord. The priests are kind and generous, they know all of the evils that are out there, but they pass on God's mercy. There are many people who fear to go to a priest because "They will know" your secrets. The priest is will never tell anyone else what you say in confession. If going to a priest you know makes you too nervous, then go to one you don't. Priests today are prepared to help you through the sacrament, but it is always best to be prepared. See this website for directions: https://thelightison.org/guide-to-confession/
This is a nice easy link for those who are not in the habit or are returning after many years. Check our schedule for "the Light is on for you" confessions, but you can always check our regular times or make an appointment. I will offer 3 Pro Tips from a guy with a lot of practice: 1) Be sure to confess your sins: Your - the priest can't forgive anyone else in confession so just tell him your sins. Sins - There are many horrible things that happen by accident, or through the choices and actions of others. Sins are just wrong actions that you made on purpose. Example: If you destroyed a friend's expensive carpet because you were sick, that is not a sin even though you may feel bad. Your child does it, same thing. 2) Keep it simple. Name your sins and how many times you did them (or you might identify a sinful habit). The sacrament tells us to name our sins not to tell the whole story, God already knows the story. 3) Be sure to acknowledge all your sins - The devil sits on your shoulder in the confessional and says, "Don't say that one." Don't listen to him, say them all. If you're not sure its a sin, say it anyway.
Living this at Home: For today, I'd say see above. With one exception. If you have children at home, practice non sacramental reconciliation with your children. With very small ones if they get a time-out have a quick reconciliation with them. After they have spent their time in their time-out spot, talk with them. "What did you do to get here?" "I hit my sister" "Are you sorry?" "Yes" (Maybe have them apologize to the sister), "We don't hit each other because it hurts, we need to be nice to each other, and to love each other. I love you and accept your apology how about a hug. Now Go play." If you choose to make a teenager or pre-teen fess up to a crime, be prepared to turn it into a moral lesson by which they can except mercy. I would never do this on suspicion, I would only do it if I caught them red handed (There is nothing worse than falsely accusing your children). If you find that you have sinned against your child, you may want to have a conversation about that and apologize. Or if you both got into throw down drag out fight, maybe reconcile that over ice cream to reaffirm them. I would add one last thing with teens. If you ever do manage to get that moment of openness and an opportunity to cheer them on to better living in mercy, be sure to ask the question, "Is there anything else on your heart or mind that you'd like to share, or is there anything else you'd like advice about?" This is a super important safety check for your child, whatever is said he is volunteered and should be taken in a care-only fashion (not punitive). Every family is different, so above all follow the Holy Spirit.