WelCom July 2018:
Fr James Lyons
The biblical story of how sin came into our lives centres on the refusal to take responsibility for what we do or fail to do. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the Serpent – and so it continues today. When I know I’m in the wrong I look for a way to avoid the consequences. It wasn’t me! I was made to do it! I had no choice… Excuses! Excuses!
Fortunately, the Name of God is Mercy. The freedom with which humanity is endowed was never going to bring any of us to perfection without slipping off the path, interpreting freedom as a free pass to do whatever I like. The ability to choose can feed pride to the point where I think I don’t need God – or that I can take God’s place.
The psalm response – With the Lord there is mercy and fulness of redemption – is a cry of confidence, made secure by the sacrifice of Jesus who came, not to condemn the world but that through him the world might be saved! This is our great hope. To know that I can start over and keep trying – that wrong-doing is not going to lose God’s love for me – must surely make me want to say, ‘thank you’, and to make a better effort.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the Church’s way of celebrating this great gift of mercy, but it is so much neglected. Is this because people have lost any sense of sin, and don’t feel there is any need to repent, or to work at overcoming faults? Is it lack of understanding the benefits of speaking out my sorrow, or appreciating that personal faults do have an impact on the whole community?
Over the next few issues I will provide more information about this beautiful, uplifting sign of God’s mercy. Please reflect in your own prayer on the gift we have in knowing the Names of God: Mercy.