1st Sunday of Lent: Confession and Lent

02-27-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

Our 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 His ministry, especially; of healing and casting out unclean spirits, Jesus would forgive sins and reconcile us with the Father. The salvific sacrifice on the cross brought about reconciliation and peace; served as a ransom for all our sins.

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

By receiving 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 Sacrament of Penance, or simply the CONFESSION. The Lord gave us this sacrament of grace, forgiveness, and mercy because He loves us. Confession, therefore, is a 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 unloading our sins. But to confess worthily, penitents must be sorry for their sins. Contrition; is the sorrow of our sins. 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. So that, 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 greatest 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 loving kindness. (Jo. 2:13) Second, Lent is that (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.

Other reasons 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, Himself 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 that exists in the Blessed Trinity. Perfect contrition and the “Absolution” of the priest restores our hearts to a position of love toward God and 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.