Monday, October 25, 2010

Confirmation I and II: October 24, 2010: The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Read the Gospel: Lk 18:9-14

Journal: How did you live out last week's Gospel message? What was tough? What was rewarding?

I wish it wasn't true, but when it comes to sin, I know it well. In fact, I'm an expert.
I remember many times in my life when I've had trouble looking myself in the mirror. "You're such a jerk," I've told myself. "You call yourself a Christian? If people only knew the real you."
But over the years I've learned to thank God that Jesus does know the real me, with all my sins … all my faults ... all my hang-ups. I've learned to face them honestly. Why? Jesus can't heal what I hide.
We have all done things we're ashamed of. We all have sinful habits we'd like to break. And this week's Gospel reminds us that the only real remedy is gut-wrenching honesty with God, who is mercy, compassion, and healing.
Here's the truth. Secrets kill. The more we keep sinful mistakes and habits secret, the more we give them power over our lives. They control us until we are humble enough to "beat our breast" (an ancient act that showed sorrow) and say, "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." Use the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. It is a perfect way to air our sins and let someone remind us about God's love while giving us advice on how to change. See your priest or a youth minister or another older Christian you respect with whom you should meet regularly to discuss ways of growing closer to God.
Take it from a sinner. God has exalted me when I've admitted how I've given into sin. Christ has provided me with priests and others who've helped me feel better about myself and grow closer to God by looking with compassion at my sins and flaws. It's difficult and humbling, but God has always picked me up and has never let me down.

Journal: From what secret sins and shame do you need freedom? Be honest, be specific.

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