Today the Gospel is the famous story of the Prodigal Son. http://www.usccb.org/nab/031410c.shtml It is the story of forgiveness. The Dictionary has several definitions for the word “prodigal”. It can mean “to squander” but it can also mean “to yield abundantly, to lavish”. So it seems that the Gospel is about the prodigal son but also about the prodigal father who, when the Son returned home, lavished his love and forgiveness on his prodigal son!
As I mediated on the lessons of this Gospel passage, it occurred to me that Jesus was the one who was telling this story. Jesus is the one who wanted to get a very important point across to His listeners. He was telling the Truth about His Heavenly Father and He wanted us to see ourselves in the prodigal Son. God the Father is lavish in His love and forgiveness and Jesus wants us to know that!
This past week there was a mission in our parish and the priest who conducted the mission issued an impassioned plea to the parishioners to come to Confession during the week. And the people responded. As I waited to go to Confession a friend came in the door with another woman. My friend whispered to me, “pray for Mary (not her real name). It has been a long time since she has been to confession. I squeezed “Mary’s” arm because she looked scared to death. The last I saw of “Mary” she was on her way into the confessional.
When we go to Confession we meet Jesus in that darkened space. Really! The priest is there as Christ and when we confess our sins we are confessing them directly to Jesus. When Father says, “I absolve you from your sins” that is really Jesus saying that to us. There is no need to be scared. As Father told us, “there is no original sin!” He has heard them all and his great desire is to be the instrument of God’s mercy and love for each one of us.
If it has been a while since you have been to Confession, like Father I passionately encourage you to go – not just to the priest but to Jesus. He waits in that darkened space for you!
Here is a guide to Confession: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php