SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - Lent and the Sacrament of Confession
and we have been pardoned of our sins.
"He pardons all of your iniquities, he heals all of your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion" (Psalm 103: 3-4.
Sadly, for many Catholics, the Sacrament of Confession has become the forgotten sacrament.
Last October when speaking at the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan affirmed that "the primary sacrament of the New Evangelization is the sacrament of penance."
He went on to say, "Yes the sacraments of initiation - baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist - change, challenge and equip the agents of evangelization, but the sacrament of reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers, as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus who calls us to conversion of heart and inspires (us) to answer his invitation to repentance."
In my book Get Serious - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, I dedicate an entire chapter to the Sacrament of Confession where I clearly explain in a way that everyone can understand the importance of this beautiful sacrament.
As we continue our Lenten journey and we reflect upon the Sacrament of Confession, it is also crucial that we recognize the essential link between the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confession.
Many times the lines of people going up to receive Communion do not match up to the size of the lines of people waiting to go to Confession.
Saint Paul speaks to us about the importance of receiving Communion in the state of grace when he says: "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment* on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying" (1 Corinthians 11: 28-30).
The Sacrament of Confession is the first act of the Risen Lord. On Easter Sunday Jesus gave the Church the authority to forgive sins. "Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained" (John 20: 22-23).
Let us always make good use of this awesome gift from God. It is through the Sacrament of Confession that we will experience the peace that only Jesus can give us.
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily. Apps for Father James' homily are now available for Android and iPhone.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: year of faith, lent, Father James Farfaglia, Sunday homily, Sacrament of Confession
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