Pope Francis said that Lent is the perfect time to let go of selfish and indifferent attitudes, returning to God with the help of prayer, penance and acts of charity. “Lent is a beneficial time of pruning from falsity, from worldliness, from indifference: to not think that everything is ok if I am ok; to understand that what counts is not approval, the pursuit of success or consensus, but purity of heart and life,” the Pope said. It’s a time to rediscover one’s Christian identity, “which is love that serves, not selfishness that uses,” he said.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most unique and beautiful aspects of our faith tradition. Jesus Christ, in His abundant love and mercy, forgave those who sought healing. The sacrament “washes us clean,” and renews us in Christ. We are made new again. In today’s Gospel we hear the familiar story of the “Prodigal Son.” The younger son takes his inheritance, squanders it and returns home seeking his father’s forgiveness. He took stock of his circumstances and made the decision to express sorrow and seek forgiveness. This is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is all about. We all know that we are sinners and have our shortcomings. It is through this Sacrament that we are washed clean and restored to God’s love. Let us embrace the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this Year of Mercy with open minds and hearts to receive Jesus’ loving and tender care.
Pat Schifini, OSU