From the Pastor's Desk
Homecoming is the central theme of the Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Advent. All three readings focus on the absolute necessity of our getting ready for Christ’s “Homecoming” into our hearts and lives by true repentance, reparation, prayer and the renewal of our lives. They also remind us that the past coming of Jesus 2000 years ago, the present daily coming of Jesus into our lives through the Eucharistic celebration, through the Scriptures and through the praying community, and his future coming (the Second Coming) are actually the fulfillment of God’s saving plan for us, from all eternity.
The first reading, taken from the prophet Isaiah, tells us about the Babylonian exiles coming home to their native country, Judah, and their holy city, Jerusalem. Isaiah assures his people that the Lord will lead them in a grand procession to their homeland and take care of them as a shepherd cares for his sheep. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 85) describes how shalom or perfect peace is coming home with the Lord’s coming.
The second reading, taken from the second letter of Peter, invites us to get ready to go home to Heaven with Jesus at his second coming. Peter tells those who doubt the Second Coming of Jesus that God’s way of counting time is different from ours and that God has His own reasons for delaying Christ’s second coming.
The Gospel tells us through John the Baptist how we should prepare to receive Jesus our Savior’s “coming home” into our lives during the Advent season by repentance and the renewal of life. John preached that the appropriate behavior for those preparing "the way of the Lord" was to be baptized “as they confessed their sins." He wanted the Jews to prepare their lives for the Messiah by filling in the valleys of prejudice, leveling the mountains of pride and straightening out their crooked paths of injustice and immorality. John recommended a baptism of repentance in the river Jordan to the Jews who were familiar with ritual and symbolic washings. The most amazing thing about John’s baptism was that, as a Jew, he was asking fellow-Jews to submit to the baptism of repentance which only a Gentile was obliged to undergo. We need to prepare for the rebirth of Jesus: We are invited by the Church to prepare for Christmas by repenting of our sins and renewing our lives so that Jesus may be reborn in us. Let us ask with Alexander Pope the challenging question, “What do I profit, if Jesus is born in thousands of cribs all over the world unless he is born in my heart and in my life?” 2) We need to allow Jesus to be reborn in our lives. People around us should recognize Jesus’ rebirth in our lives by our sharing love, unconditional forgiveness, compassionate and merciful heart and spirit of humble and committed service. 3) We need to accept the challenge of John the Baptist to turn this Advent season into a real spiritual “homecoming” by making the necessary preparations for the fresh arrival of our Lord and Savior Jesus into our hearts and lives.
Importance of Confession for our Life as Catholics
Sin causes a three-fold damage in relationships:
Most people easily see that sin can damage the relationship between us and God. This is why all Christians seek forgiveness of sins in some way. But, this isn’t the only damage done. St. Paul tells us, in several of his letters, we are all united to God in one body of Christ – the Church.
Who Forgives Sin?
Only God has the authority to forgive sins. Yet, this authority is mediated through others. The Jews questioned why Christ was forgiving sins, because they did not realize He was God. We must not forget that Jesus was also a man. He passes on this authority to forgive sins to his apostles.
After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples who were gathered in the upper room, scared out of their minds and confused. Christ comes and breathes the Holy Spirit on them and then commissions them to forgive sins. This is only the second time God breathes on humans. The first is when He breathes life into Adam. Breath is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
21 Reasons why we have to go To Confession!
- God commanded we confess our sins to one another in the Bible. (James 5:16)
- It is the ordinary way to have our sins forgiven.
- We receive grace to resist sin through the Sacrament, as well as forgiveness
- We learn humility by having to confess to another person.
- There is built-in accountability.
- Our relationship with the rest of the Church is healed
- We receive counsel from the priest.
- We can be comforted hearing the words of absolution.
- All are sins are wiped away.
- Helps give you the strength to forgive others.
- It doesn’t cost anything.
- We may not be positive that we have “perfect” contrition without it.
- Helps us go deep within and think about how we can improve.
- It feels good emotionally.
- When we realize (again) we are sinners, it is easier to be patient with others.
- Always confidential – what is said in the confessional stays in the confessional.
- No more guilt.
- We are better prepared to receive the Eucharist.
- Forgiveness is a necessary part of growing in holiness.
- Our consciences can be better formed.
- If we have mortally sinned, then Confession brings us back into the family of God – The Church as well as restores sanctifying grace in our souls!
Please join us on Monday (Dec. 11) @ 7.P.m for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) to Prepare ourselves for this Christmas.