The Sense of Sin
Arriving at this third Sunday of Advent serves to heighten our awareness that the fourth Sunday—Christmas Eve—is but seven days away. We have been called to prepare, to be watchful, and to be alert with the primary focus being on preparing our immortal souls for the coming of Christ. Although we tend to more easily relate to this Memorial of Christ’s first coming—Christmas—than to focus on the primary reason for this season, which is the Second Coming of Christ at the end of our lives. If we are truly prepared for that then this should not send any shivers into our countenance, but should find us totally at peace.
And the preparation that achieves that is to rid ourselves of the negative impact and influence of our sinful inclinations. There is no doubt that in today’s hedonistic society, temptations abound. And try as we might, with the most sincere of intentions to reject them, our frail humanity finds us, all too often, succumbing to some habits we are striving to put behind us. And, no matter how important, or utilized, the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been for us, we all need to come to the realization that Christ’s gift of this Sacrament is the antidote for the constant allures of Satan and the world to betray our Baptismal promises to reject all sin.
Thursday night, we had more than 200 parishioners take advantage of our Advent Parish Penance Service, with nine priests present to hear Confessions. This was quite encouraging, a record crowd for our parish, but the balancing thought for me is that we have somewhere in the range of 2,000 parishioners who are of Confession age. I know full well there are many who attend the neighboring parish penance services (and have met many there) but I still encourage those who have yet to do so, and who could use the faith-energizing purification of their souls, to consider making a good confession before Christmas. I will be hearing confessions on these last two Saturdays for a full hour before the 5:30 Mass, and after each weekday Mass as well. If you are homebound, or know of someone who would like to make a Confession, please call the office to convey that.
Far too often in my short 10 years as a priest, I have encountered Catholics who have not made a confession in years and who relate that they just don’t sin. My thought has always been, “Who am I to judge?”, even though I know that this is highly improbable. All we need to do is turn to the published lives of the saints. St. Pope John Paul II (who during his Papacy, confessed most every day) and several of His predecessor Popes, related that Catholics in particular, and Christians in General, in this world of modernity (today’s secular world) have lost the sense of sin. And, they all strove hard to combat that prevailing mindset and educate us that the Sacrament of Mercy (Reconciliation/Confession) was lovingly provided for us by Christ to find and live in an aura of peace as we carry our crosses.
Think about it…what was once clearly understood as gravely sinful has become, not only acceptable by the liberal minded, but has also become magnified and promulgated by the secular media as “good.” Grave sins have unbelievably and deceptively been brought under the protection of the law today as being a surreptitious “good.” We are talking about killing the unborn, killing the elderly and promoting suicide. We are talking about promoting so-called same-sex marriage and behavior. Homosexual behavior and sodomy is now being protected by law and hailed as “good.” These have all have been afforded legal protection by our federal and local governments.
So the battle continues today and I dare say, that the Prognosis of those Popes (that we as a people have lost the very sense of sin) is even more acute today. As I have often mentioned, a myriad of sinful activities have evolved primarily with the help of the entertainment and media industries. There is no doubt that they have effected a virtual reversal of good to evil and evil to good. Recognition or knowledge of what sin is is very, very Important to our spiritual progress. So, let us be cognizant of its prevalence today, identify it and fight it off to the best of our ability. Let us reinforce ourselves with the regular assistance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We hear God’s warning quite clearly in Isaiah Chapter 5: Verse 20, “Woe to those who call evil “good” and good “evil.”
Tonight (Sunday) and Monday evening at 7:00 p.m., we will be graced with the presence of renowned spiritual speaker, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, to address us with faith-invigorating talks on the importance of our Advent preparation and the importance of the gift of the Eucharist in our lives. Please plan to attend, I promise that you will be glad you did.
Peace and grace to you,