3rd Sunday of Easter
3rd Sunday of Easter
God's love and forgiveness
St John who writes to us in the epistle today always reminds me of the old parish priests I remember from my childhood. Full of love, kind hearted, very fatherly but absolutely no nonsense, no vague, touchy feely religion, no pick and mix Catholicism. Straight down the line. Salvation is too important to mess around with.
"Anyone who says I know God and does not keep his commandments is a liar, refusing to admit the truth". Telling it like it is. But then the love and the pastoral wisdom. The love "If we do sin we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who takes our sins away". The pastoral wisdom "If you do obey God's word God's love comes to perfection in you".
We may fail, we may sin, but turn to him for forgiveness and listen always to him, allow him to makes us grow in love.
Obviously St John is talking about confession, that sacrament which in a particular way makes available to us the forgiveness won for us on the cross and given to us in baptism. The sacrament when if we fall after Baptism, even fall seriously, we can be certain of God's forgiveness.
It is a forgiveness that leads to growth. It requires that we listen to the word of God, that we repent, that we are sorry for our sins, determined by God's grace to avoid sin in the future and willing with God's help to repair the damage our sins have caused.
The link between the Mass and Confession is clear. I recognise the risen Lord in the breaking of bread; I recognise that this is the one who died because of my sins. I recognise that I am a sinner called to repentance. I go to confession that I may more worthily receive the Word of God that He, who is God's love, may come to perfection in me.
To paraphrase St. John anyone created by God (with the exception of Our Lady) who says "I do keep all his commandments is a liar. Without confession God's love will never come to perfection in us". There is still time for Easter confession, don't let another year go by.
Value of frequent confession
Let me quote, Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Mystici Corporis written in 1943.
Disastrous are the opinions of those who assert that little importance should be given to the frequent confession of venial sins. Such sins can be forgiven by that general confession which the Church, surrounded by her children in the Lord, makes each day by the mouth of the priest at the beginning of Mass. As you well know, Venerable Brethren, it is true that venial sins may be forgiven in many ways. But to ensure more rapid progress day by day in the path of virtue, the pious practice of frequent confession, which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, should be earnestly advocated. By it genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and apathy are resisted, the conscience is purified, self control strengthened, a salutary spiritual direction is received, and grace is increased in virtue of the Sacrament itself.
That was 60 years ago. When was the last time you went to confession?