Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness….
In today’s Sunday gospel Jesus makes it clear that God wants our complete allegiance. Is God first in our life or not? If yes, praise God for His goodness and mercy! If no, then it’s time to get our priorities straight.
Lent begins on Wednesday. As ashes are applied to our foreheads, we will hear “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” To repent means to turn away from sin and to seek forgiveness.
In a recent catechetical talk in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke about the Sacrament of Penance. Here is some of what he taught:
We cannot forgive ourselves. We go to confession to be healed in heart and soul because of something we did that is not good.
In addition, he said that the penitent feels shame.
But shame is good, because it makes us humble, and the priest receives this confession with tenderness and pardons in the name of God. When we emerge from confession we emerge free, forgiven, great, beautiful, clean and happy. And that's the beauty of confession.
Have you ever before thought of shame as good or confession as beautiful?
Pope Francis also asked his listeners how long it had been since their last confession.
…two days ago? Two weeks ago? A couple of years ago? 20 years? 40 years? We should all take count, and say to ourselves: ‘When was the last time I went to confession?’ And if it's been a long time, do not waste one more day. Go. The priest will be good to you. Jesus is there, and Jesus is better than any priest. Jesus will welcome you. He will welcome you with so much love. Be brave and go to confession. I tell you, every time we confess, God celebrates. He embraces us.
Let’s pray for one another as we try to put God first in our lives.
Create a clean heart in me, O God!