One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Holy Night. In particular, I really like the first verse, which reads: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” I think this is also why I have such a deep appreciation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Because sin and error really messes us up. Left unchecked, it ruins everything. Sin damages our relationship with others and sometimes even ruins them. Sin damages our relationship with God, and mortal sin, in fact, destroys that relationship. Our sins and the sins of others are at the root of all of the chaos and drama we experience in this world and to tell the truth, we are pining for relief.
Then, God appears. He sends His Son into the world precisely to give us the relief that we’ve been longing for. To save us from our sins! In Jesus, we see that there’s nothing God wouldn’t do to set us free from the sins that tie us down, hold us back, and generally just ruin everything. When you see the humility of the God who became a baby for our sake…when you see Christ on the Cross and realize the depths of his love for you…then, the soul feels its worth. It is the love and mercy of God that gives us the “thrill of hope” and makes “the weary world rejoice” as we go on to sing.
As we prepare ourselves for the Coming of Christ at Christmas, we call to mind exactly why He came. To set us free and to give us new life. That freedom and new life is available to us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I encourage you to look at your lives and see where you still need to experience freedom from sin and new life in Christ. Ask God for the wisdom and courage to make a good confession this Advent season.
Our Tri-Parish Day of Grace is this Thursday, December 13. Your priests will be available for Confessions from 8:30-11:30am at Holy Angels, from 12:30-2:30pm at Sts. Peter & Paul, and from 6-7:00pm at St. Mary’s. Take advantage of these special times for Reconciliation or celebrate the sacrament during one of our regularly scheduled times (Mondays from 5-6pm at SPP and on Saturday afternoons 1 hour before Mass at each parish). Confession can be difficult, especially if it’s been a long time. Check out page 8 of the bulletin this week for some times on how to make your Confession a better experience.
Prepare your hearts for Jesus in this holy season. Experience the joy and hope that comes from freedom from sin and a new beginning in Christ!
Wishing you a Holy Advent,