Saint Margaret Parish

Catholic Church

Est. 33 a.d.

Advent Parish Reconciliation
& Penance Service

Posted on: November 28th, 2011 by Father Cávana Wallace

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen
The Lord be with you
And with your spirit.
My brothers and sisters,
Advent is a time of preparation, when we make ready to celebrate the mystery of our God coming to redeem us by entering into human history two thousand years ago and living among us.

Advent also moves us to look forward with a renewed hope that the Lord will come a second time, this time – to bring the eternal plan of salvation to fulfillment.

We are also reminded that the Lord will come to each one of us at the hour of death – this fact we know for certain, but we do not know the hour.

This service of confession, reconciliation and penance is to make us ready in mind, heart and soul for the coming of Christ, which we will soon celebrate in the Mass of Christmas.

Let us pray that when he comes, he might find us awake and ready to receive him.

Lord our God, maker of the heavens, as we look forward to the coming of our redeemer, grant us the forgiveness of sins.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Readings

Romans 13:11-14 Luke 21: 25-33

Homily

The season of Advent is our immediate preparation for Christmas — the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, when God became seen and recognizable to the naked eye. Our faith tells us that he will come again and will be finally visible in all his glory. When he came to us in Bethlehem, he was like a tender lamb. When he returns to us on the clouds of heaven at the end of time, he will be like a powerful lion. His first arrival 2000 years ago was humble and quiet. His coming at the end of time will be majestic and terrifying.

During our celebration of Advent, we find ourselves caught in the middle of his two public interventions in our world’s history. His first coming would have been in vain and his final coming fruitless unless he could be found in the here and now — coming to us in his “invisible” presence, assuring us of his friendship, sharing his life with us still. We there cannot take this friendship for granted.

This is why, even though the days become shorter and, what the Church calls, the “Day of Wrath” approaches, we need not be afraid if we are in a true relationship with Jesus as our Savior. He is the bridegroom who visits the Church, his bride. He never abandons his loved one.

But we also call the Church “mother”. And during this time of Advent, Mother Church offers us through the liturgy, selections of Scripture passages which are meant to “perk” us up, to awake him from sleepiness. When you come across someone injured, you tell them to “stay with me”, “don’t fall asleep”. Our instinct is to keep talking with them so that they do not fall into unconsciousness and slip way into the darkness and the false comfort of death. Likewise, Mother Church shakes us a little at times. These are opportunities to stay awake, not to slip into sleep — the sleep induced by sin which, if ignored easily becomes vice, and if left unchecked can become habitual – leading to the eventual destruction of mind, body and soul.

For this reason, the practice of the sacrament of confession is encouraged especially in our preparation for the Arrival of the Lord as we go fort to meet him, especially in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

When we confess our sins, we do so to a friend — we do so to Jesus. The priest is simply a stand-in for Christ. As in any friendship worth its salt, we don’t try to explain all the details of our life, or justify our behavior with excuses or by pointing the finger at someone else. In that sacred moment of friendship with Christ, all it takes is the acknowledgment of particular sins we be know we have committed, an apology for the sin, and the commitment to mend and strengthen the sacred relationship is given.

Even though there are similarities in the spiritual practices, one feature of this season of Advent that distinguishes it from Lent, is a word of gladness and joy which we do not refrain from saying or singing — “hallelujah”. Even though the vestments and colors are purple and the nights are longer, we do not forget that Christ is already here, even in the darkness, that the invisible Christ waits for us in the visible sacraments. Christ sees through the darkness. indeed , he was born in a dark place, and on a holy night – a night brighter than any midday sun. In the Sacrament of Confession, we welcome our friend divine, into the darkness of our lives. Come, Lord Jesus Come!

Silent Meditation

Act of Repentance

Christ our Lord came to call sinners in his father’s kingdom. Let us now make an act of sorrow in our hearts and resolve to avoid sin in the future.

Give us the strength to turn away from sin. Lord have mercy.
Help us to be sorry for our sins and to keep our resolutions. Lord have mercy.
Forgive our sins and have pity on our weakness. Lord have mercy.
Give us trust in your goodness and make us generous in serving you. Lord have mercy.
Help us to be true followers of your Son and living members of his Church. Lord have mercy.

God does not want the sinner to die, but to turn to him and live. May he be pleased that we have confessed our sinfulness, and may he show us his mercy as we pray in obedience to his Son the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father…

(As we move in the direction of individual Confession, the examination of conscience printed and provided by the parish may be helpful.)