We hear the story of the Prodigal Son in today’s Gospel. Jesus shares this powerful parable to illustrate the tremendous love and mercy of God, who reconciles us when we are humble and contrite, no matter what. Many vocation stories, including Pope Francis’ begin in the confessional. I think it’s safe to say that all of us carry the baggage of sin with us. Sometimes we put it out of our mind and carry on. Other times, we can become scrupulously focussed on it [focussing on our sins more than what we can do for Jesus is just as harmful to us]. Confession is the remedy and acknowledging the Lord as the same loving and merciful father we hear of in the parable is a great beginning. God meets us in the confessional, it is there that we are humble and contrite. It is there that we are embraced and loved. It is there that we are restored. And what we do from there matters. Do we go back out and give ourselves over to “dissolute living” or do we give our life over to the Father’s love?
For our Associates, the men in serious discernment of their vocation, we encourage them to the regular practice of confession. I share with them the stories of St. John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa. Both these holy people shared with the world their powerful need for confession because confession and reconciliation was what they needed constantly to let go of the things which held them back from being all they could be. Confession is the remedy for sin, because the Lord is patient with us, and offers us His love and forgiveness always and constantly. Maybe we can’t measure it, but we grow in virtue and we never overlook sin by going. We grow in contrition or sorrow for our sins by going. And freed from the burdens which are often on our soul and not always on our mind, we are free for heavenly pursuits, to live for God and for others. Let us consider, especially during this season of Lent our practice of confession and make it an ongoing commitment in our lives. May God bless you.