People come to Confession with a check list of their sins because they want to make sure that they don’t forget anything. They want to “get it right” because they are afraid that if they don’t, they will be condemned.
They haven’t heard. Perhaps no one told them. Or they never read the Scripture that we just proclaimed, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” A Bible verse that is not often quoted. The reason is that we would rather believe that we are in danger of going to hell unless we visit a certain shrine, or never miss a first Friday devotion, or touch a special statue, only then will we go to heaven. No wonder other Christian denominations make fun of us. Some folks had a vision of hell and wrote about the vision in a book. Such books have become very popular. Fear of hell gets more attention than the hope of spending everlasting life in heaven. Hear this: Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of who God is because He is God. We believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That’s not a mystery that the Church invented. God has always been the same. Took us centuries to reach such a conclusion. But all three were present at the creation of the world. Human consciousness has evolved throughout the centuries. We have changed, but not God. We have learned that God is not vengeful, nor out to punish us, does not gets angry with us. We cannot make God happy or sad. God is pure, unconditional love. There is nothing that we can do to earn God’s love. Everything is undeserved gift.
Goes totally against everything we have learned from infancy. The system of rewards and punishments is ingrained into our hardwiring. We do not know any other way to keep law and order. We run a stop sign; we pay the consequences. Unless we don’t get caught. We rationalize that what happens behind closed doors, is nobody’s business. Therefore, personal sin influences how we think. We forget about communal sin. The stuff we do or fail to do as a community, as a State, as a Country. We forget that Pro-life is from the womb to the tomb, which includes the folks who are not of our race or speak our language. Jesus Christ did not say that He came to save only us, but to save the world. With respect to Hollywood, the early Christians did not look like us or speak like us and would not have recognized our culture. However, the uniting factor has always been our love for Jesus Christ and His love for us. His love changed the world—changed our perspective on who God is.
Jesus told stories. Once there was a man who had two sons. The younger son ran away from home and took lots of his father’s money with him. When he returned, instead of punishing him, the father kissed him and threw a party. Once there was a farmer who sowed seed all over the place, without discrimination. Obviously, behavior that we would call imprudent. God behaves imprudently because He does not discriminate. Not all teaching was in stories—some really happened. A woman was caught “red-handed” committing adultery. As always, the man was nowhere to be found. But the woman was guilty, and the punishment was death by stoning. Just when everybody was ready to kill her Jesus said, “Let the one who has no sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Well, that ruined everything! Everybody had to go home without a show, beginning with the elders. That’s the way it goes. Usually, the older we are the longer our tail of sin is. (Not my idea—what’s written in the Gospel). Jesus introduced us to the “God of surprises”. Just when humanity thought that our system of justification by good works was resolved, the Lord surprised us. No one gets to heaven on their own merit. God pulls us up. The tool the God uses is the cross. Through the cross all our sins have been forgiven. No more worries.
Listen carefully. God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit will never accuse us, He will defend us always, even if we are guilty. The debt has been paid. That’s our God whom we celebrate today and always.