Fourth Sunday of Lent - Year B - 15th March 2015

Lenten Service of Reconciliation

Today the Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation) has fallen out of favour. The main reason for this is our loss of the sense of sin. We have become a culture adept at rationalising sin rather than confronting it. Yet the poison of sin remains.

During the season of Lent we are encouraged to confront the disorder in our lives. It's different for everyone. Maybe it's selfishness... dishonesty... laziness... meanness... irritability... or irresponsibility. As long as we resist facing these unattractive sides of ourselves, we are in denial. In today’s gospel, St John describes this struggle in terms of darkness and light. "Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light." Sin is the option for darkness rather than light, for the ugliness of our own selfish ways rather than the beauty of God’s ways.

In our struggle to emerge from darkness into light, we are not alone. God does not wait for us to make the first move; the initiative comes from him. And he will stop at nothing in order to save us. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

Our parish, like many others, has a Service of Reconciliation each year in Lent (and in Advent). These services are opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament with the parish community. These services are reminders that we are all part of one human family living together and sharing responsibility for the ways in which our world is sinful. We ask God to help us to see how we have harmed our brothers and sisters in Christ. We seek God's forgiveness for our failure to act on behalf of poor and marginalised communities and we ask for help to commit ourselves to working for a better world for all.

Our Lenten Service of Reconciliation will take place on Wednesday, 25th March at 7:30 pm. It is God’s invitation to us to be reconciled with him and one another. God’s gift of salvation is something we have to accept, it will not happen automatically.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.