The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy! As we know, our revered Pope Francis has declared this a Holy Year of Mercy. What a blessing for us who want to grow more connected to Jesus, our ultimate good shepherd. What a welcomed opportunity to acknowledge our sins through the sacrament of reconciliation, and powerfully experience the merciful love of Jesus.

The Treasure of Sacred Scripture. God’s inspired Word challenges us to “own up” and take responsibility for our moral failures. Some examples: “Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy” (Ps(s) 28:13); “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who have no need of repentance” (Lk 15:7); “Neither will I condemn you. Go and from now on avoid sin” (Jn 8:11b – Jesus’ words to the adulterous woman). The fortified grace and uplifted spirit which comes from our making a good, sacramental confession do not guarantee we will not sin again, but nothing on our part could help us more achieve that goal, and show God sincere sorrow for our sins.

Come closer. Do not be afraid.” We adults can be especially embarrassed by being fearful from evil forces outside and inside of us. Exteriorly we are threatened by the severe violence and danger found in our society. We need to be comforted by the timeless psalm: “You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day … because you have the Lord for your refuge and stronghold” (Ps(s) 91:5, 8). Interiorly we can feel threatened and overwhelmed. Jesus emphatically proclaimed: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28).

Bishop Muench.pdf

Intentional Trust, Decision and Action. We humans can employ the defense mechanisms of denial, rationalization or procrastination. Our faith in God calls us to trust him: “God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid” (Is 12:2). Our hope in God calls us to intentionally resolve to do better: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mt 4:17). Our love of God calls us to confess our moral failings. We read in God’s word about “the people of Judea and all Jerusalem who were going out to John the Baptist, confessing their sins” (Mt 3:5, 6).

The Gift of Reconciliation. Jesus’ parable of the tax collector who prayed in the temple: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Lk 9:18b) merits highlighting. In contrast to the pharisee who prided himself in his prayer, and went home unjustified, the tax collector left the temple being justified by God. How much more fortunate are we, who have the benefit of the risen Christ’s gift to the apostles and their successors: “Whose sins you forgive, are forgiven” (Jn 20:23). Visit the ordained priest of your choice and experience God’s mercy first-hand. You won’t regret it!