“Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble.” ~ Hosea 14:10
In keeping with the overarching Lenten theme of repentance and God’s unrelenting call to return to him, today’s 1st Reading (Hosea 14:2-10) provides us with something of a roadmap to reconciliation and redemption if you will.
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the Lord; Say to him, ‘Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.’”
The sacrament of reconciliation is largely overlooked and underutilized by many of us today; the reasons are varied. A priest at my old Parish would occasionally say “I guess we have a group of Saints here in this Parish; the puny lines at the Confessional lead me to draw no other conclusion.” The act of acknowledging and confessing our sins is of course the first step towards freedom. Faith in God’s ability to “heel our defection” (Hosea 14:5) should serve to galvanize us in our attempt at genuine reconciliation. Whereas we tend to wallow in and ruminate over our sins, God wants us to move on; he has big plans for each and every one of us as members of his mystical body here on Earth. Not only does he forgive us, he can and will heal us of our disordered and misguided urges, those defects within us that lead to sin in the first place. 1 John 1:9 tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
So as we continue our Lenten journey, let us continue to carve our time to thoroughly examine our conscience, pinpoint our sins and seek forgiveness for them with full and total confidence in God’s love and mercy. In doing so, we can swiftly get back to the business of properly knowing, loving and serving our Lord in a world that so desperately needs those who are willing to do just that.
“Thank you Lord for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14). In Jesus’ name, have mercy on me Lord, and grant me the gift of forgiveness.” ~ Amen