|Thursday, the 21st Week in Ordinary Time
8/31/06 TV Mass
JMJ + FC
You must be prepared because the Son of Man will come at an hour you
do not expect! Jesus tells us to be prepared whether we're rich or
poor... whether we're young or old... whether we're healthy or sick. All
of us must be prepared!
Prepare for the coming of Jesus! He will come again like He said He
would. He speaks the truth! He is the Truth! The Truth Himself will
never lie to us or deceive us! He shall come again to judge the living
and the dead!
In our worldly life, we prepare for everything. So this call to be
prepared should not sound too strange for us. We prepare for family
gathering! We prepare for job interview! We prepare for final exams!
Often times, we neglect preparation for spiritual things. Often times,
we get so busy preparing for the need of our bodies but neglect the need
of our souls. We must be prepared because the Son of Man will come at an
hour we do not expect!
How do we prepare for the Lord's coming? What can we do to get
ourselves ready? Live the day as the last day. Or we might not live
through the end of the day. To think like that perhaps will motivate us
to be prepared.
For us, Catholics, the Lord gives us the Sacrament of Confession.
This is the ordinary way that the Lord would forgive our sins. No matter
what the sins are... no matter how frequent we've committed them. As
long as we're sorry for them and as long as we try with God's grace not
to commit them again, the Lord will forgive! He will not only forgive,
but He will forgive and forget too. That's the awesome Mercy of God!
And the great thing about Confession is that we, penitents, know when
our sins are being forgiven. When we hear the priest said: "I absolve
you from your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Spirit..." That's when our sins are being forgiven. It is the Lord
Himself in the priest who forgive our sins. Fr. Anthony made a reference
to the sanctuary candle to remind us of the Lord's Presence in the
Tabernacle. Jesus is in the confessionals too. He is there in the person
of the priest acting in His Person. The sign for Jesus' presence in the
confessional is the priest who is a man validly ordained.
And the Church asks of us at least to confess our mortal sins: in
kind and in number. "In kind" means the type of sins committed! We ought
to name them as best as we're able to name them. If we don't know the
specific name, we can explain it to the priest what we did. And you want
to be as specific as you can especially in dealing with mortal sins. A
possible case may be: confessing in general the sin of impurity. Well,
there are various kinds of sin of impurity: impurity in thought or
impurity in actions. And there are impurity in actions with self or with
others or with something else. And with others could be fornication or
adultery or something else. Again, we want to confess them as
specifically as we can while including the number of times committed for
Mortal sins are deadly sins. They're deadly because eternal
punishments are reserved for the one who dies in mortal sins. St. John
in his letter (cf. 1 Jn 5) speaks about sins that are deadly and sins
that are not deadly. So when you realized you've committed at least one
mortal sin, don't waste any more time, but look for a priest to confess
them right away. And this is a very good preparation for the Lord's
We must be prepared because the Lord will come at an hour you do not
And a regular confession (not just once a year to fulfill the Easter
Duty)... regular confession (like once a month) is a very good
preparation for His coming. With confession, we need to prepare for it
too. We don't want to just go in there and treat confession like an
automatic "car wash" or treat the confessor like an automatic
"absolution machine." What happens when we don't prepare for confession
is that it tends to take much longer time than it needs. And people who
are in the confessional lines should not be kept waiting a long time
because we did not prepare for it. Some may be turned off from going to
confession because the line is so long or the line is extremely slow
even if there are two or more confessors available.
Just some brief points about confession (I recommend a book by Fr.
Dubay – Deep Conversion / Deep Prayer). Some of these ideas are
taken from Fr. Dubay's book.
A) The Sacrament of Confession is not intended to be a counseling
session about difficult human relations. Any relational problems should
be discussed outside of the confessional setting.
B) The Sacrament of Confession is for guilt. It is for sins. It's not
for mere feelings or mistakes. So feeling impatient or angry or envious
are not sins. Why? Because there's no free will in a mere feeling.
Usually we cannot control emotions (at least not completely... so
there's little guilt or none at all). One of the reasons we should not
confess non-guilt items is that they distract us from what we can
correct and should correct which are real guilt and real sins. If we're
not sure about the guilt, the doubt should be briefly mentioned. For
example: I may have been partially guilty in showing anger or I may have
been slow in turning away from an unchaste scene on TV. If we don't have
any guilt since our last confession, we can confess past guilt with
continuing sorrow because there cannot be a sacrament of confession
unless real guilt is confessed. Though the past sin was forgiven
already, the Church's power given by Jesus continues to heal and give
grace. There is always a form and a matter in each sacrament. For
example: the sacrament of the Eucharist, the matter is bread & wine and
the form is the words of consecration. Well in the sacrament of
confession, the matter is our guilt / our sins and the form is the words
C) "Confession Practicum" experience in the seminary... Don't confess
other people's sins in your confession. You go to confession for your
own sins and not the sins of others.
D) Confess only the essentials of the sin. Don't tell a history of
what took place or any unnecessary details.
E) Mother's show - re: Confession... She said: "Make an honest
confession and not a pretend one." The priest is not there to hear your
good virtues. He's there to hear your sins. You don't go to confession
and say: Father, I was very good this week. I gave something to the
poor. I was nice to my wife, nice to my children. I didn't eat too much.
I didn't drink and didn't get drunk. I was very good. Give me your
blessing, Father. Mother said: "You're in the wrong box buddy! He
goes to hear what you did wrong and not what you did right... but
All these brief points on Confession... most likely you won't hear it
in the confessional because the confessor is trying to be as gentle as
he possibly can. And there are people who are so easily offended even by
a gentle correction.
BE READY FOR THE LORD'S COMING BY FREQUENTING CONFESSION!