Reading 1, Acts 4:32-35
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Reading 2, First John 5:1-6
Gospel, John 20:19-31
Lets not beat around the bush. Today’s gospel reveals a biblical basis for the institution of Confession, and today is Divine Mercy Sunday. That is no coincidence. So let’s talk about what often feels like most Catholics’ least favorite sacrament.
When we think about Confession, why do so many of us feel discomfort, which we rarely feel in any other sacrament? I think most of us can agree the thing about Confession is that we all get really caught up in the negative side of it: naming our sins. That’s fine. I hate that part too. I don’t enjoy thinking about all of the things I have done wrong, let alone going into a room with another person and speaking them out loud. Nobody likes that. So we are all on the same page.
But we MUST challenge ourselves to not stop there, and to learn to view Confession in a different way. First we need to realize this: God didn’t give us the sacrament of Confession in the hopes that we would never need it. He isn’t disappointed to see us there. He knew we were going to sin, and need absolution. Over. And. Over. God doesn’t create Sacraments hoping we won’t use them!
So many of us think of Reconciliation as the negative sacrament. But it isn’t the sacrament you aren’t supposed to use or need. We need Confession to help us heal our broken relationship with the Father. It helps us humble ourselves and helps us recognize where we fall and where we can improve in our lives. It gives us graces to help us not sin in the future. It prepares us to receive the Eucharist in the state of grace. It makes us more patient with others as we realize how imperfect each one of us really is. It is literally a direct pathway to his Divine Mercy.
Seeing confession in this way can change our lives. Instead of guilt from sin crushing us, we now can flock to His Divine Mercy through this sacrament knowing that is exactly all God has ever wanted from us. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I hope that everyone will consider washing themselves clean by opening this avenue to His Divine Mercy, as we realize that the question is not whether God will forgive us, but whether we will let Him.