Once again I felt uncomfortable at what was communicated to us through today’s homily. Uncomfortable not because I totally disagreed with this loving Priest of ours, but because I felt it was once again incomplete and was left to misintepretation. At first I thought it best that I should just remain silent but after the Eucharistic Celebration and dimissal, I made my way to speak with him to clarify what he meant because I did not want to go against Church teachings nor did I want to misinterpret what he said. However I believe that after our discussion he meant what he said to begin with.
I am still groping myself and trying very hard to increase my faith reading Scripture and learning from our Church Fathers and so my aim is not to prove the Priest wrong but to explore what is taught to us through the Catechism of The Catholic Church.
I cannot repeat word for word what he said in his homily but in essense it is about God’s infinite love for us. Sinners by definition are not necessarily those who do wrong but those who acknowledge that they have wronged God. He then showed us a slide to discuss among ourselves what we thought God’s love means to us when we wrong him. ( again the below may not be word for word )
1. God is angry with us and wants to go for confession.
2.God loves us so much that he still wants us to receive Jesus through the Eucharist.
3. God loves us even more and wants us to go back to him.
I personally chose 3. because that it what I believe the Gospel is teaching and showing us. That is no matter, how much we have sinned against God he is still waiting for us with open arms to receive us so long as we have a contrite heart and are truly repentant. We do not have to fear or stay away from him. Jesus our shepherd is willing to leave behind the ninety in his fold behind, face the wolves and weather just to look for his one strayed sheep.
The loving priest on the other hand said something like this… perhaps the people in the Old testament viewed God like that, which is an angry God. He then said that God’s love for us is actually nos. 2 & 3. That is why he says when people who ask him in the confessional if it is a sin to receive Jesus in the Eucharist without having gone for the sacrament of reconciliation he says NO. After all we say ” Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed” before going for communion.
Now this is what got me uncomfortable…..At first I thought he meant that if we had not committed any mortal sins and are truly sorry for all our venial sins that we may have unwittingly committed. Then during the penintential rite; the breaking of bread when we sing the ‘Lamb of God’;and when we ask God to make us worthy through the prayer mentioned above, only then we are made worthy to receive Jesus. Apparently he meant what he said, that we can partake in the Eucharist so long as we are truly sorry for our sins.
So what did St Paul mean in his letter to the Corinthians? (1 Cor 11-27:29) when he said ” Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. CCC1385 Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion. For the different kind of sins kindly refer to CCC1852.
And what about the the second precept of the Church? CCC 2042 (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation,which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.
Even in the love story of the prodigal son, we see that the son was truly repentant not just sorry. (Luke15:18) The father of course knew this immediately by the fact that his son had come back to him, hence he was filled with compassion and joy. Because sin in essence keeps us far away from our loving Father.
I believe that if we want to receive the divine body of Jesus our saviour in the Eucharist, we must receive him with the purity of a contrite heart and are repenting from our sinful ways. (Words and Actions) Only when we do so, will we experience the fullness of communion with Him and his Church.
Being sorry or remorseful is not good enough, we must be repentant. Take the case of Judas Iscariot, was he repentant or remorseful? I believe he was remorseful but not repentant. If he was repentant, he would have submitted to the will of God and asked for forgiveness instead of taking his own life by hanging himself. (Matthew 27:4-5) So then if we are truly repentant, then we must listen to Jesus who teaches us how to live our lives. The first step is to go for the sacrament of reconciliation which Jesus himself established through his apostles. Matthew 16:19 / Matthew 18:18
Like the Apostles, we too are sent out to search for lost sheep and welcome them back into the fold. But I believe we are to also guide them so that they may receive fully the fruits of communion with God and his Church.