A priest was hearing confessions during the children’s confession period and one little boy walked in and said Bless Me Father for I have sinned. He recited his various sins and then siad that he threw peanuts in the well. Another boy came into the confessional and said his various sins and then concluded that he also threw peanuts in the well. After a few more boys all confessing to have thrown peanuts in the well. Another boy came into the confessional and the priest stop him right there and then and asked him if he threw peanuts in the well. The boy replied, “Why no Father, I am Peanuts!”
And then later in the afternoon it was the adult hour and a little boy came to confession and the priest said why did you not come to confession during the children’s hour. The little boy said well Father I did not have any sins then to confess.
We are living in an age where we are not taking the blame for our misbehavior. I hear time and again that sin and guilt are out of date and something of the past. We no longer take responsibility for our bad behavior. When we misbehave it is because our parents have been bad examples, or we did not have proper food or grade B milk, or the teachers in school were not cool, or we did not have the right sports equipment then. I was the black sheep of the family, other kids picked on me. Therefore we are going to make up for lost time and steal things that we did not have when we were boys and girls.
We no longer look at ourselves. We blame everyone out there but never ourselves.
There are three ways to look at ourselves. First we look at ourselves the way we see ourselves and then there are good people who look at ourselves and have an opinion about us and then there is the way God sees us. But since God is spirit he speaks to us by His indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our good parents, good priests and good teachers. We trust the opinion of those parents, teachers and priests.
I say good because there are bad parents, bad teachers and bad priests. It’s unfortunate but it is the fact of life and I cannot sugar coat this unfortunate circumstance. Parents and teachers and priests who are filled with indwelling of God the Holy Spirit are persons you will recognize. My grandfather Dominic was such a man. He was serene, hospitable, gentle and soft spoken. He was uneducated but was wise. He was a worker and a doer. I could not ever remember as a boy that he ever used bad words. Sister Francis DeSales in eighth grade was another good sister. She was every bit of 300 lbs. and a Green Bay Packer fan because she talked about them all the time with us in school. She was prayerful, wise and she was holy. Jesus and Blessed Mother poured out from her presence with us children.
We cannot receive the Mercy of God and his forgiveness unless we take the blame for sins. When we repress our responsibility for ourselves we then reject goodness of all sorts. We ignore the good parents, the good priests and sisters and the good teachers. You have heard of heart transplants, kidney transplants. The body may reject these new organs because the body has antibodies in it and these antibodies work to reject a foreign organ. So it happen to us too in the spiritual world. When our souls are filled with sins and badness then the new grace of God is rejected. Our ears become dull to listening to good persons in our lives, good music, good entertainment and good education. If we are in the state of mortal sin which is the complete rejection of goodness and God then He is no longer permitted to enter into us. If we are in the state of venial sin which is that state of ourselves between being good and bad then like a clogged pipe the goodness of grace only dribbles into us.
I would say that most of us at one time or another are more in the state of venial sin then mortal. If you were in mortal sin it is unlikely but not impossible that you would be here at Mass today. When we are in the state of venial sin, we still know goodness but at the same time we are a bit uncomfortable. When we have a broken bone or a bee sting we are in pain. Why? …Because the bone is not were it ought to be and with a bee sting there is a foreign substance that a Bee gives in its stinger that causes an allergic reaction to it in us and we are in pain. When our conscience is not were it ought to be then we suffer. Some of us will try to cover up our uneasy conscience by drink, or amusement but in moments of quiet the guilt and pain is still there.
We are seeing today that America is suffering an uneasy conscience about the killing of babies in the womb through abortion. Young people that are called the Milennials are children born from 1990 and on today they are you here today. There was a survey taken from them recently and if found that these children are more likely to respect the babies life in the womb more so than any previous generation.
(Story of King David and Psalm 51)
(Judas and the woman and ointment..blessed are the poor where is your compassion and love of the poor social justice- Judas was robbing the treasury it was his way of cover up)
So when there is this uneasy conscience we have because of sin we can obtain God’s mercy through confession. What is confession or the sacrament of Penance?…..Confession is Nudity….It is nudity of the soul. Adam and Eve were nude in the garden but they were not ashamed because they were covered with God’s glory. When Adam and Eve sinned against God they covered themselves up. In confession we take of the coverings of conscience and expose ourselves to God. We strip ourselves of excuses and reveal ourselves as we truly are. Why with a priest? Why not go into another quiet room and talk to God directly? It is because God is spirit and we are matter and spirit. We need matter to communicate to our spirit. Just as in the physical world we go to a doctor to take tests and give us feedback about our ills we need priests to give us feedback about our spiritual condition. The sacraments are matter that communicate to us God’s grace. The definition of sacrament is outward sign instituted by God to give grace.
Jesus has passed this responsibility of God’s forgiveness to his priests. He said to Peter and his apostles whose sins you forgive they are forgiven in heaven.
In Confession we say in all humility to the dear Lord this is the way I am. We are forgiven by Jesus through His priest. However something is left behind. (Nail in the board example) The effect of sin is a hole left in the board. So even though the sin is forgive we have to make reparation for the sin. If I steal your bicycle and ask you to forgive me for stealing it would you not want me to give it back to you? It is the same way with sin. We are forgiven and we must do a penance to make our lives better again to fill up the holes in the board.
So just as there is nothing more refreshing than a good shower so there is nothing more refreshing than a good shower and a wholesome meal afterwards.
We are the most fortunate people in the world because we can go to the Lord and receive an external sign of Holy Eucharist to nourishes God’s life in our souls and we can be assured of forgiveness beyond a doubt without any way of living in the past for mistakes we made because Christ tells us through his priest that we are forgiven and we can move on to be other Christ (s) for doing good in the world.