Scripture: Lectionary 459: Baruch 1:15-22. Psalm 79:1-2.3-5.8.9. Luke 10:13-16
In the passage from Baruch we have a perfect communal confession presented to the people of Israel. The wording and the inspiration can help us as we also think about communal penance services. Usually most parishes do provide one during the seasons of Advent and Lent. This is a good insight into the act of presenting our sins openly and honestly before God within the context of the community to which we belong as believers. All are involved in this confession of their sins—the sages, the priests, the people. God is always there to forgive us and we must trust in God’s merciful kindness and love.
We read in the Psalm for this day: “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.”(Psalm 79:8).
Jesus is railing against the behavior of the towns surrounding his own home town of Nazareth. These towns have not been open to the words he has spoken and to amending their ways. Jesus says to them it would go better at judgment time for Tyre and Sidon, dreaded enemies of the Israelites than for Chorazin and Bethsaida!
These readings help us to approach the sacrament of reconciliation with trust and heartfelt contrition as we confess our sins. The Scriptures remind us of this long tradition and invite us to do the same as many have done in the history of Israel and that of the Church. We are also reminded to break the terrible pattern of our sins by truly having a firm purpose of amendment of taking the necessary steps to avoid them in the future. Easier said than done! With God’s grace strengthening our wills and healing our hearts we are led to have the spirit of the scriptures for this day. Amen.