Today, Saturday, in most parishes is the traditional day for Confession - time set aside to provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And during this season of Lent, there are in most parishes Penance Services at which time several parish and visiting priests hear Confessions during an evening liturgy. How wonderful!
In the past several years many Dioceses are offering "The Light's On" programs with Confession being offered on week-day evenings to accommodate those who cannot "get to Confession" at other times. All of this is an effort to help Catholics return to the Sacraments - those who have been away. It is another example of our Holy Mother, the Church, going our of her way to save and care for her children.
When I prayed through the Gospel today I thought of all this. It is the story of the Pharisee and the Publican who both go to the Temple to confront their sin. ( Lk 18:9-14) The Pharisee does no such thing. He doesn't confess his sin; he simply tells God all the good things he does. He tells God how wonderful he is (the Pharisee - not God!). On the other hand the Publican stands at the back of the temple; does not raise his head; beats his breast and simply asks God: "Be merciful to me a sinner." That is what God likes to hear! We don't have to be done-in by our sin. We don't have to be reluctant to face God because of what we have done or not done. All we have to do is admit that we have sinned and be sorry. "God be merciful to me, a sinner."
If you haven't been to Confession for awhile you don't know how wonderful it is to be free, to be a new creation, to be forgiven! God is not waiting for you to tell Him how wonderful you are. You know better. Let's be like the Publican. Tell Jesus, through the ministry of the priest, that you are a sinner and that you need His mercy. You know what? He will hear you and He will respond. Do you know why? Because He loves you and He wants you to come home!