Sirach 4:26

Brothers and Sisters,

The Church has always wanted us to fully understand the Sacraments.  As you know, the Sacraments are not uniform; the seven Sacraments are celebrated differently and with different elements:  water for one sacrament, oil for another, bread and wine for another. The Anointing of the Sick can be celebrated almost anywhere; the Eucharist can only be confected within Holy Mass.  Further, some sacraments may be received only once, others are to be received repeatedly.  I will venture a guess that preciously because the rites are celebrated differently and with different elements that many members of the faithful misunderstand them.  To that end, a full quarter of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is devoted to explaining the Sacraments.

Today, as we celebrate the Eucharist on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Body and Most Precious Blood of Christ, I want to offer something of a paraprosdokian and write mainly about Confession (also called the Sacrament of Penance or of Reconciliation).

While the Sacrament of Baptism is our entry into the Church (and to the rest of the sacraments), the Sacrament of Confession is our subscription renewal.  Penance seems to be the most underutilized of the seven Sacraments.  Confession/Penance/Reconciliation was prophesied in the Old Testament:  “do not be ashamed to confess your sins” (Sirach 4:26).  Yet there are many Christians who suggest that the Church or Her priests cannot forgive sins, saying “who but God alone can forgive sins” (Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21).  Of course, Christ Himself inaugurates the Sacrament and gives it to the priests with His famous words to the apostles “whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:23).

The Sacrament of Confession, though, is very much an under-used sacrament.  We don’t see big lines for Confession in our area; often there is no wait at all during the scheduled times for the sacrament.  I hope now to re-invite everyone to come again to the Sacrament of Penance this Summer and in every season of the year.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to eliminate past sins from your soul.

In addition to our scheduled times for the sacrament, all of our surrounding parishes have opportunities for Confession as well – even I admit that I found it tough to confess my sins to my home parish pastor.  As long as we all make good use of the Confession, we will be in the state of grace so that we can be well disposed to receive the Most Holy Body and Most Precious Blood of Christ at every Mass.  Do not miss your opportunity to receive forgiveness of your sins.

God be near,

Father Jeremy