One more week and we will be entering Holy Week! Lent will come to an end soon. This is the right time to look at how our Lenten journey has been so far and how it still can be turned into a time for a more fruitful Christian living. Last Sunday I had mentioned in my homily about The Joy of the Gospel that Pope Francis gave us a couple of years ago. There he wrote: “The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” (no.114). One visible sign of this is the “Communal Reconciliation Service” to be held on the evening of Palm Sunday here at St. Matthias.
But, why is this sacrament so important? We know that God invites us to “become the best version of ourselves.” And yet, if we are honest to ourselves, we will admit that there is a dark side in each of us, a sinful side that prevents what God invites us to become. Before entering the Holy Week to celebrate the most holy mysteries of our faith, it is ideal that we sweep the house clean by experiencing the loving forgiveness that God offers us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our Communal service will have some scripture reading, reflections, songs and an Examination of Conscience.
Even though the pandemic has made it difficult for us all to be present in person, this prayer service will be also on our St. Matthias YouTube channel. Accessing it individually or as family can be very fruitful for all who wish to experience the joy that comes from the mercy of God. There will be opportunity for those who wish to have individual reconciliation. This will be the best gift we can give to ourselves when we prepare to renew and restore our relationship with Jesus and the Church before Easter.
A sentence in one of the newsletters from “Catholic Update” (from Liguori Publications) made me reflect: “When we choose not to forgive, we cheat ourselves of the joy of living. When we harbor resentment in our hearts, our resentment becomes the lens through which we see reality.” All of us deserve the “joy of living.” Let us not allow the absence of forgiveness (both giving as well as receiving) to become the only obstacle between us and our joy of living. Let us reflect together and experience the joy of God’s mercy.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal