“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I was 16 years old when I asked some Christian guys I knew what I needed to do to be saved. They said I needed to confess my sins to God, be baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Well I was already baptized, but I had never gone to confession, nor had I ever experienced the Holy Spirit. Spiritually I was suffering and I knew I needed help. They told me I needed to confess my sins to Jesus, for He alone could forgive me. The next evening I went to Church. I did not feel comfortable confessing myself to a man. I mean, why did I need to do that? Why not go directly to the source? I did not understand yet about God or Jesus given authority. So, I stood outside the doors and I prayed to God. I confessed every single sin I had ever committed to him, the tears flowed. You may not think that there’s much a sixteen year old can confess, but when you’re growing up in the South Bronx and you’re sixteen, going on twenty five, well you can get into a lot of bad things. I waited, but I didn’t hear anything. I felt a little better, but where was the closure? I said the words, but now I wanted to hear His words. Nothing. I sighed, took a deep breath and went in. In the confessional I told the priest the same thing I said outside. You could hear a pin drop. After some time the priest asked, “Child, what’s your name?” “Phil,” I said. “Phil, I am not Jesus Christ, I’m a priest, a representative of Christ’s Church, but I truly believe if the Lord himself was sitting here He would forgive you, since you poured your heart out to Him, and so you are forgiven.” I got chills, how did HE know I poured my heart out to God? But I felt peace and the weight of the sins lifted. The surprise didn’t stop there though. “Phil?” “Yes father?” “I sense you have a desire to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, am I right?” “Yes,” I whispered. How did HE know I wanted baptism by the Holy Spirit? “Let’s see about getting you confirmed, and getting you invited to the supper table of the Lord.” Only Jesus can save us from the paralyzing power of sin, as we learned in last Sunday’s Gospel. We don’t have to go it alone, come, the Father is waiting.
Until next time…please take advantage of the sacrament of Reconciliation; that’s what mercy is all about, reconciling ourselves with the Father…luv ya! Deacon Phil