Sunday, 9 December 2018

Confession, 2nd Sunday of Advent

Lk 3:1-6
I was shopping in Wilko this week and the woman at the cash register smiled, looked at my food and presents, and said, ‘Christmas is such a special time’.
Indeed, this is a ‘special’ time.
But, as Christians, we know that many of those around us have forgotten what makes it ‘special’:
the coming of the Lord Jesus.
Like most of you, I find that the build up to Christmas can easily distract me from what Christmas is about:
The stress, the shopping, and more.
How can I focus on the RIGHT things?
How can I prepare, in my heart, for Christ to COME?

Our Advent readings, over the 4 weeks, give us different tools, but today’s is on what it is WITHIN me that stops the Lord coming:
My sins.
That not an EASY message, but it’s a very BIBLICAL one, and a crucial one
We heard in our gospel about how St John the Baptist prepared for the first coming of Jesus Christ, prepared by crying out in the wilderness, "prepare a way that the Lord"(Lk 3:4), and the way he called people to prepare the way for the Lord was by REPENTING of their sins.

If I want the Lord to come to me this Christmas, then I need to create SPACE in my heart for Him.
The thing that fills my heart, the things that stop there being space for Him, are my sins.
Let me note two things: I need to see, and, I need a cleaning agent.

Wilko sells reading glasses, and I’m reaching that age when I sense that I can’t read properly without them.
The text can be right in front of me, and I can’t really see it any more.
But the biggest sight problem I have is seeing my sins, being HONEST about my sins.
I feel grumpy and tired, and I blame other people, rather than looking into my own heart.
I find myself complaining about my problems, when I should see that I need to listen to others.
I need to SEE my sins.
And the most powerful tool for this is regular confession.
Going to regular confession, and the regular examination of conscience that goes with this, this is a most POWERFUL tool to enable me to see my sins, to enable me to see what is stopping the Lord coming.
There is an examination of conscience sheet inside the newsletter this week, take it and prepare.
We have 4 priests coming soon for hear your Advent confessions, 18th Dec, but what we each need is to be going to confession REGULARLY if we are to see our sins
-if we are to have the ‘reading glasses for the soul’.

Wilko also sell cleaning agents: limescale remover, washing up liquid, and more.
But the biggest cleaning I need is in my soul, of the dirt of my sins.
And the Lord established a mechanism for this: the sacrament of Confession.
As Jesus said to the Apostles, His first priests: “Those whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, those whose sins you shall retain they are retained” (Jn 20:23).
If the Lord is to come this Christmas, I need to not just SEE my sins, but bring them to the divine cleaning agent: Confession.
I can’t forgive myself, only God can do that.
I can’t heal myself, only God can do that.

The thing that makes Christmas ‘special’ is not for sale in Wilko.
The thing that prepares me for Christmas is not for sale in Wilko.
The greatest gift that prepares me for the coming of the Lord is His forgiveness, available in Confession, a great tool for regular use, but especially in this season.

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