Mt 3:1-12 They Acknowledged Their Sins
In today’s Gospel passage, we read how people came from all over - from Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan. They were coming from afar to acknowledge their sins and to be baptized in the Jordan River. I have said this before but the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Confession share a common physical sign: water. In Baptism our sins are washed away with water. In Confession, our sins are washed away by our tears. Both are cleansing. Both are extremely healing.
“They were acknowledging their sins.” There is something inside of us that seeks forgiveness. I want to be forgiven. I want to be able to tell someone what I have done wrong. But who? Who can I trust? Who can I open my heart to? Who will not judge me or condemn me, but forgive me? I am terrified!” I am scared.”
Are these not the typical comments I hear all the time when I approach the subject of Confession? And yet, the Sacrament of Confession remains for me one of the most beautiful sacraments in the Church. Truly, second only to the Eucharist, for I know what to expect: God’s presence - his love and mercy. It is the ONLY PLACE in the world where I can open my heart, say it like it is and reveal my innermost feelings and turmoil. It is the ONLY PLACE in the world where I will not be judged but loved. It is the ONLY PLACE I have no fear of my life being revealed to the world on Facebook or Twittered or gossiped around and tossed about.
There is something that we all desire in our lives: TO BE LOVED! Yes, I have said it before and I will continue to say it again. We cannot allow ourselves to settle for any counterfeits! That is, to allow sin to hinder us from our greatest desire. Love includes forgiveness. One of the greatest expressions of love is to forgive. Is it not always a welcomed guest, a great surprise, a wonderful gift? And yet, I am afraid to ask for forgiveness because I am afraid of being hurt, of being rejected. Of my heart being torn by someone who is greater than I, in a position of authority or who has power over me. For this reason, I believe the greatest prophet dressed like the greatest buffoon!
St. John the Baptist dressed with Camel hair and ate locusts and honey for breakfast. Who would dare invite someone like that to come dine with them? His clothes, his manners and his behavior spoke volumes to his audience. He cried out, Look at me! Reduced to nothing! Reduced to shame! Reduced to ridicule! Reduced to you! What do you think of me now? What are you worried about? You have nothing to fear! Go ahead! Acknowledge your sins. Seek conversion! Take a step forward and live once again!
Today, let us ask the Lord to truly open our hearts in welcome. Remove all the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share in his life and freedom and reach the great desire we all seek: TO BE LOVED - to be one with Him, to reach Heaven, perfection and happiness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.