1st Sunday of Lent: The Sacrament of Reconciliation

02-26-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to bring salvation to humanity: And you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:27). Jesus saves His people from the power of Satan, from sin and its ultimate consequence, death. In Jesus’ ministry of healing and expelling unclean spirits, He would forgive sins and reconcile the sinner to the Father. His death on the cross is the salvific sacrifice, a ransom for man’s sins, brought reconciliation and peace with the Father.

On the evening of the resurrection, when the Apostles gathered in the upper room, Jesus appeared to them, showed His hands and His side, and said: Peace be with you. As the FATHER has sent me, now, I send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them: Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained (Jn. 20:21-23).

Through the Holy Orders (Ordination): the bishops and priests of the Church, like the Apostles, receive the commissioning from the Lord to forgive sins. Priests forgive sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes called the Sacrament of Penance or simply the CONFESSION. Jesus gives us this sacrament of grace, forgiveness, and mercy because He loves us. Confession, therefore, is His gift of Divine Mercy and love. Because it is through this sacrament; Christ Himself forgives the sins of the people of God.

We go to the cross in the confessional; rise again renewed after confessing our sins. In a good confession, penitents must feel sorrow for their sins or contrition of their souls. Imperfect contrition is sorrow for sins out of fear of the fires of hell or the viciousness of sin; itself. Perfect contrition, pure remorse of sin motivated by the love of God. When we commit sins, in all humility, we bend on our knees to ask our Lord for the gift of perfect contrition.

The season of Lent and Confession go hand in hand in two ways. First, Lent is the season of conversion, and “Confession” is one of the best means of CONVERSION. And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness. (Jo. 2:13) Second, Lent is the (40) forty days period of preparation that builds up the faithful toward Easter. The Lord suffered and died for our sins; the Triduum Liturgy slowly ushers us towards the Glorious Easter and completes the Paschal Mystery of our savior Jesus Christ.

Why we should go to “Confession” during the Season of Lent: (1) We have all sinned. If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:8). (2) Confession is a Sacrament of Healing. Jesus forgives our sins and gives us the grace to overcome our weaknesses and HEAL the wounds of sin in our lives. (3) Mortal Sins weigh us down and separate our souls from the purity of eternal life ( existent) in the Blessed Trinity. Perfect Contrition and the “Absolution” of the priest restore our hearts to a position of love toward God and our neighbors. (4) Confession restores our relationship with God and re-unites us to the Church, the Body of Christ. Every sin estranges us from our relationship with God and weakens the universal witness of every Christian. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). (5) Worthy reception of the Eucharist. In the reception of the Holy Eucharist, we receive the True Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
The sacrament of Penance strengthens our
sacramental union with Christ in the Eucharist.