Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Jesus replaces the Temple.  His teaching and actions made him a grave threat to the Temple authorities.  The Pharisees’ belief system needed to be reoriented away from simply adherence to the law in external actions alone.  They needed to be refocused on a purity of heart not merely a ritual purity.  But the Temple authorities had their position really threatened by Jesus.  Perhaps because they feared that Jesus would disrupt the uneasy truce that existed between Roman authorities and Jewish leaders.  Perhaps purely out of self-interest.

As it turns out, the Sadducees, whose position was centered on the Temple, would ultimately fade away with the destruction of the Temple in 70AD.  And it was neither Jesus nor his followers who triggered that destruction.

But the teaching of Jesus could make people uncomfortable.  It could be disruptive.

In what ways are the teaching of Jesus uncomfortable for us?  Perhaps it causes us to face our own sins, especially ones that we are somehow afraid to admit.  Maybe we compound one grave sin like missing Mass some time ago by our own choice with a sin of pride that keeps us from seeking forgiveness for that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?  Perhaps we are uncomfortable even making the call to get an appointment.

Please know that we need this Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Jesus knows that.  This is why he gave it to us through his Apostles (John 20:23). 

Know also that we live in a difficult time.  Priests cannot visit patients at Orange Park Hospital here (and at so many others around the country).  We are only able to offer Confession by appointment (although we will work with you to find a time that works). 

We are having to educate people about the need for an Act of Contrition made with perfect contrition if Confession is not possible.  Perfect contrition arises from a love by which God is loved above all else.  Imperfect contrition is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear).  It is still a gift from God that can help a sinner seek forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Catechism 1452-1453).    

Please overcome whatever discomfort is keeping you from seeking forgiveness for sins.  Make an Act of Contrition daily and strive to do so with perfect contrition.  Do not be afraid to make an appointment for the Sacrament of Reconciliation when you are conscious of grave sin.  Be willing to make frequent and careful use of this sacrament for venial sins (Rite of Penance 7b) when home isolation no longer becomes necessary to prevent the spread of this virus.