Monday, June 24, 2013

Admit sin and seek forgiveness: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

            First, I am happy to report that we had two ordinations last week that were very inspiring.  My good friends Blake Rozier and Tim Lange were ordained to the transitional diaconate on Thursday and will be ordained to the priesthood next summer, God willing.  Nick Nelson, Mike Garry and Eli Gieske were ordained priests on Friday.  I am very excited to have these new priests to work with, especially as they studied in Rome the last four years.  I want to thank each of you for praying for vocations in our diocese and please continue to ask God for an abundance of priests.

The past few weeks my Dad and I have been keeping tabs on the NBA playoffs.  He has a cell phone now and finally learned to text, which makes watching the games away from each other more fun.  On Thursday my Dad and I watched the finale of one of the greatest NBA Finals series.  At some point in the game he expressed a sentiment we both share with professional hoops: “Every time a player is called for a foul they whine and complain.  No one ever fouls!”  Unless it’s the other team.
            We can be the same way with sin.  We know sin exists by looking at the world around us.  We may quickly see the sin in another person—a spouse, child, coworker, friend or complete stranger—but do we admit when we sin?
            Every now and then you will see an old school basketball player who, when called for a foul, will raise his hand as if to say, “Yep, that was on me.”  It is refreshing seeing a player admit his mistake and move on with the game.  Do you do this after you sin?  Do you raise your hand to God, spouse, child or other, do take responsibility for your action?
            Jesus says, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised…”  You might be tempted to blame these elders, chief priests, scribes and other hypocrites for the crucifixion but not so fast…it is your sins and mine that nailed Jesus to the cross.  We should thus follow the prophecy of Zechariah: “…they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.”  It is wise, at times, to grieve for our sins because they really killed Jesus.
            After we do, we can then tap into God’s mercy and forgiveness.  This grace is foreshadowed in the earlier lines from Zechariah: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition.”  After owning up to our sins we ask for forgiveness.  We do this on a few occasions at Mass, in our hearts and especially in the sacrament of Confession. 
You may wonder why Fr. Rich and I preach about Confession so much.  It is not because we are bored and have nothing to do.  Well, I’ll speak for myself there.  Fr. Rich is bored with nothing to do since I got here!  We do so because we love you and want what is best for you.  I go to Confession every week or two because I need it.  I’ve experienced God’s healing and love regularly in this great sacrament and I want to be a bridge to this same Source of mercy.
That said, there are only two answers to bring light into a dark world.  First—Jesus Christ.  There is no answer to evil except in Him.  Second—instead of fixing what is outside of us, we must be transformed within.  If everyone in the world could look into a mirror, see and take responsibility for their sins and ask forgiveness, the world would be a completely different place.
Like an old school basketball player, admit your faults honestly and in humility to God and others and then seek forgiveness.

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