The psalm for today’s Mass is Psalm 51, a psalm used in the Liturgy of the Hours by all who are obliged to pray them. This psalm is used every morning when we begin the prayer where we state; “Lord open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise.” We also use this psalm every Friday as it reminds us of our need of repentance.
During the Lenten Season we especially take time to reflect upon the ways we have offended God and separated ourselves from Him. I was blessed to listen to a Zoom meeting recently where Msgr. Joseph Hirsch spoke of the Sacrament of Confession and how essential it is to our relationship with God. Monsignor Joe told of his own story of finally making a good confession when he was 26 years old and considering the priesthood. He told how he was always afraid to tell those sins that were especially difficult and embarrassing. He said it is like having a backpack filled with three rocks (he likens the rocks to sins) and getting rid of two of the rocks in confession, but leaving one in the backpack as it was too difficult to tell to the priest. If you continue to go to confession in this manner sooner or later your “backpack” is filled with rocks. This weighs you down and you don’t experience the joy of a clean soul after confession. Monsignor Joe said it took him a while before he totally cleaned out his “backpack.” He said many adults continue to go to confession like they did as a child, not growing in their appreciation of the sacrament and not bringing their adult sins for forgiveness.
It’s never easy to fess up for our sins; it takes courage and humility. We must humble ourselves before God and tell Him we are truly sorry for what we have done that has offended Him. We are reminded of the need to be forgiven at Mass when we confess to God and each other that through our thoughts, words, in what we have done and in what we have failed to do, that we have sinned. It’s not that God doesn’t already know what we have done, but it is essential for us to speak these words, telling Him that we too are aware of our sin, that we long for union with Him and beg His forgiveness. We know He is a loving and merciful God who longs for us to approach Him so He can show His mercy. The priest acts in the person of Jesus when forgiving our sins in the Sacrament of Confession. He is happy to bring forgiveness in Jesus’ name!
Take the time to make a good confession before Easter. Be cleansed so you can feel the joy God wants us to experience. There is no sin too large that cannot be forgiven, so get rid of those rocks! Create a clean heart in me, O God.