She asked me … “When are confessions in the parish?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question but the answer wasn’t overly-helpful.
“Anytime you want” and then I added “but we don’t really have a set time in the parish”. This is the case, of course, but when asked that question, I feel a tinge of guilt since I often think about this but still haven’t quite figured out the best thing to do. In the past, weekly confessions in most parishes would have been the norm.
I remember sitting in the confessional in other parishes, especially in the early days of priesthood and having a regular trickle rather than flow of people wishing to come along. As years passed, the trickle reduced itself until, it seemed at least, nobody was coming along. The “hour in the box” became a half hour and the half hour for as long as it took and, as long as it took, became no time at all.
Regularly I go to Knock to celebrate this Sacrament and there certainly are crowds there. Locally (as priests) we feel that maybe most of our people go there but I’m not always convinced by this. The man in today’s gospel reminds us that we are sinners and, to be honest, it seems that we need reminding.
We might say it but do we really and truly believe it or have we convinced ourselves that we are doing alright and that sin is not part of our story? Alas, it is! On a daily basis we get it wrong and the longer we go on trying to convince ourselves of anything different, the longer we fool ourselves.
Maybe we need to see that man (in the photo), bent double acknowledging himself a sinner and asking God’s mercy. Is he telling our story or is it just his?