Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Catholicism 101: Bringing Jesus' Mercy to Life

Father Tony shared his Catholicism 101:  Bringing Jesus' Mercy to Life with the students this past Sunday evening.  Bringing Jesus' Mercy to Life is the embodiment of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  So often, this is referred to as "Confession", but the reality of the Sacrament is it is so much more than just confession.  It is the opportunity to hear the Lord, through the actions of the priest, actually grant forgiveness for the sins on our hearts.  

The question is often asked, "Why do you have to go to a priest?  Why can't you just pray directly to God."

There are a couple of answer to these questions.  First, in Matthew 18:18, it is said, "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  This was a directive to the apostles in how to support people as they sought healing for their sins.

Second, the Sacraments are how God chooses to reveal Himself to His children.  The Sacraments are concrete ways for people to experience God.  God makes Himself visible through the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.  God makes Himself visible through the priest in the confessional.  

We have a few things to keep in mind as we visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Primarily, God *wants* to forgive us.  God desires the closeness of the relationship we can have when sin is not a barrier.  Next, God does not stop loving us because we are not perfect.  God loves us just as we are.  Third, the priest represents the presence of God.  Fourth, like the adulteress woman confronted by others for her sins, Jesus wants a direct, personal encounter with each of us, so He can tell us He won't condemn us, and we should go forth and sin no more.  

How long has it been since you have had a personal encounter with Christ in the confessional?  Is it time for you to pay Him a visit?

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