“…that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth.” - Mk 2:10
Jesus came with authority, the power to do things, especially to forgive sins. Notice that his main intention in relation to this paralytic is not to heal his body, but rather his soul. This is reminiscent of St. Jean Vianney, the great confessor who spent upwards of 12-15 hours a day in the confessional, and was known to encourage people to not come to his parish for healing of the body. Many occurred there in Ars, but Vianney would credit St. Philomena and tell people to go to other parishes for healing of the body. He considered the sacrament of reconciliation, the confession of one’s sins and reception of absolution, as the great gift that he could offer people.
As we begin our Lenten season in a few days, consider coming to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Every time you receive this sacrament you start your life anew, your will is strengthened and your mind is purified. Do not neglect this encounter with the authority of Christ, passed on to the apostles when, “…He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgive; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.' ” (John 20:22-23) At times too, there is a healing of the body, given the close relationship between the soul and the body. When the soul is healed, the body is liberated from the oppression of guilt and anxiety.
There are several opportunities throughout the week here at St. Stephen. Scheduled confessions are on Friday morning from 7:30am before Mass and then at 9am after Mass until all are heard. Usually Fr. Yu is able to join me for these so lines decrease quickly. We also have confessions on Saturday from 3pm until 4pm. Feel free to schedule confessions as well, especially if it has been awhile and you may have questions to discuss. It is a joy for priests to hear confessions. Do not feel like you are bothering them if you catch them outside of confession times. Usually we can make time so that God may be glorified and His children may know the freedom that forgiveness brings.
Lenten Mission with Brian Casey
Our parish mission is coming next week when Brian Casey of Good News Ministries of Seattle will be with us for the weekend Masses, Sunday evening, and then two sessions a day Monday through Wednesday. Do not be deceived by his meek and mild photo. I’ve known Brian for many years since I worked at Holy Rosary in West Seattle where he is a parishioner. He is so calm normally that I didn’t expect the passion and inspiration that flows through him when he is teaching on the faith. I hope you can make some quality time for your family to come and hear him speak. Be prepared to improve your life and your relationship with Christ. God desires it so let it happen!
Deacon Harold Burkes-Sivers for 40 Days Kick-Off Tuesday
Get a jump start on your Lenten transformation with Deacon Harold Burkes-Sivers from Portland. You may have heard him preach nationally on EWTN. Hold on to your pew, because I know he is going to try to move you out of it! Our faith is called into action. Our profession of faith at Baptism asks, “Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?” If God is our maker, what right do we have to extinguish life? We have the extraordinary privilege to participate in procreating new human persons, precious in God’s sight. When this is unplanned, what is needed is courage and love. Our 40 Days Vigil for Life prays for this kind of love. Please come and kick off this campaign of prayer and love for women and children in unplanned pregnancies. Come pray for a change of heart on the part of fathers, friends, abortion clinic personnel and our legislators. God can change hearts.
No Drive-Thru for Ashes
I fielded a phone call one Ash Wednesday where the caller was asking when ashes would be distributed. I said “During Mass”. He said he knew that, but wanted to know exactly when during the Mass they would be distributed. At the moment I told him to come to the whole Mass and he would find out, but in my sarcastic mind the retort came, “Just come to the drive-thru window anytime and we will give you your ashes.” I don’t know this person’s mind or motive, but I hope he wasn’t skimping on the time it takes to build a relationship with God. In parenting theory, I’ve heard that ,“love = time”. We must spend time with one another to convey love. Same with God. He knows our hearts, but do we?
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