Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Sinner Who Repents (Lk15:1-10)

I wonder how many times Jesus has to say the same thing over and over again before we begin to believe Him. Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents. Every time a sinner repents. In other words it pleases God the Father when we repent. It pleases Jesus when we repent. It pleases the Holy Spirit when we repent. It also pleases all the Angels and Saints when we repent. All those in Heaven rejoice when we repent. Those on earth rejoice as well. Priests rejoice when sinners are forgiven in the confessional. The faithful rejoice when those in need go to confession. Despite all this rejoicing. Despite all the healing and peace that come from repentance and forgiveness. We won't forgive, and are afraid to repent. We refuse to forgive because we have been hurt, and we do not want to be hurt again. We are afraid to repent because we believe God will throw us out like the garbage we falsely believe ourselves to be, ugly, hypocritical, perverted, disgraceful failures. Therefore our unforgiveness ferments in anger and anger ferments into bitterness until finally the fermentation is complete in bitterness turning to hatred. Hatred which is the opposite of Love. All this because we have been hurt. Our Lord does not want to see our wounds foul and festering as they decay into hatred. He desires to wash clean our wounds and to bind them up that we may be healed as He comforts us. He rejoices with all the Heavenly Hosts if only we come to Him trusting in His Merciful Love. In refusing to come to Him we allow our false judgments to be compounded by sin. The only thing that can ease the pain of believing you are a hypocrite is to give in and sin. The only comfort in believing you are ugly or perverted or a disgrace is to sin. We seek to distract ourselves from the misery of our interior lives. So our sins that distract us continue to confirm and reinforce our belief that we really are a worthless failures before God and men. So sin builds upon sin reinforcing our false judgments that keep us from knowing who we truly are in the eyes of God. Yet Jesus who is the Truth tells us that all Heaven will rejoice if we trust in His Merciful Love and repent. He also reveals why Heaven rejoices; because we are the Father' beloved sons and daughters. When we repent we are returning to the safety of Our Fathers House through the gift of our Saviors Sorrowful Passion, and in the Loving Mercy of the Holy Spirit. There we will heal from the many wounds that are our sins. We will find healing for all the sins that have been committed against us that we did not deserve. We will find healing for the many wounds we have inflicted upon others. Finally we will find healing for the deepest and most grievous of our wounds; those that are self inflicted; the sins that cause us the deepest embarrassment because we believe we should have known better. If only we repent. The truth is that we do not have to be afraid of being hurt again because we are Loved by the Lover of our souls, Jesus. The truth is we do not have to fear being judged for our Crucified Savior reveals to us our Fathers Love. Our Crucified Savior reveals the Our Father's Mercy triumphs over Judgement. In truth we are God's children now. In truth we belong to Him. In truth Our Father rejoices as does all those in Heaven when we return to Him and repent. They rejoice that in repenting we have been set free from our guilt and shame; free to know that we can live as His beloved sons and daughters.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Dear Fr Jim,
Greetings from Western NY! I have never met you but we have friends in common and I used to hear you all the time on Catholic radio.:)
Thank you for the gentle reminder that I really need to get to confession. I love confession, but sometimes when I'm really struggling, I become terrified to go back. I know how satan can use the fear of rejection to get me to stay away for weeks and sometimes even months. Please pray that I get my soul in the Box on Sunday!