Over the past few weeks, I have spoken in homilies and during the announcements about the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) and opportunities for people to confess their sins. With some assistance from our parish Evangelization Team, I created two videos and some handouts on this sacrament (available at http://renewaloffaith.org/ls/reconciliation.htm). It is also the season of Lent when more people come to receive the sacrament.
In the last couple of weeks, a few people have made appointments for private confession and the line on Saturday afternoon has been growing. Normally regular confessions here are from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. With the increased numbers, I announced last weekend that for the remainder of Lent, confessions will begin 1/2 hour earlier, running from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Yesterday (Saturday), I entered the confessional at 2:30 p.m. and immediately began hearing confessions and went basically non-stop till 4:20 p.m. when I needed to leave the confessional to prepare for Mass at 4:30 p.m. I think this is wonderful.
People want to have their sins forgiven.
It’s not that we are awful people. We are fundamentally good, created in the image of God. We are also imperfect. God knows that. That’s why God sent his only Son to die for us on the Cross so that our sins may be forgiven. Our willingness to confess our sins is a sign of our openness and desire to know God.
I have no doubt that some of the increased numbers coming to Confession are simply because it is Lent. Others are led by the Spirit. Some may be doing because of something I said in a homily or the video and handouts. It doesn’t really matter why. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a gift. God does not want to judge us. God wants to forgive us. God loves us so much that He wants to forgive us no matter what we have done. God does not want to condemn us (see my Sunday homily this week). Do we seek the forgiveness God offers us?
P.S. Don’t forget our diocesan Day of Penance on Tuesday, March 26th. I’ll be in the confessional from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. For the schedule of other parishes in the diocese click here.