On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the universal Church officially begins the Holy Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis on March 13, 2015 in St. Peter’s Basilica which will conclude on November 20th, 2016, Solemnity of Christ the King.
The Scriptures proclaim the superabundant mercy of God if we are willing to seek for it. The world in which we live is precarious. At Fatima, the Blessed Mother Mary revealed to the visionary, Blessed Jacinta Marto, that “the sins of the world are very great … if men only knew what eternity is, they would do everything in their power to change their lives.”
Salvation history has shown that God our Father is willing to save the many for the sake of the few. When, for example, God pronounced judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah because of the people’s depravity, at Abraham’s intercession, the Good Lord was willing to hearken to Abraham to save the many, but unfortunately Abraham could not find much faith/repentance and as such God rained sulphur and fire on that land. (Genesis 18:16-32)
So based on such truth, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is inviting all of God’s people to specially intercede, throughout this Year of Mercy, to the Almighty God for the sins of the whole wide world so that the Lord God may forgive and spare all people based on the intercessions of the Church, the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has paid the price for sin with his precious blood. Although the price of sin has been paid, unless we plug into this ocean of forgiveness already poured out by the Lord Jesus, we will lose out. Our Bishop, Gerard Bergie, has also reinforced this clarion call in his last pastoral letter to the diocese a couple of weeks ago.
In our Parish of St. Patrick, the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) has recommended that we, as a parish community, will key into this great universal event by renewed private prayers, family prayers, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in Church before weekday Masses, Holy hour in Church on every First Friday of the month from 9 – 10 a.m., once a month evening Holy Hour with adoration and confessions every 3rd Friday of the month beginning January 2016 to, especially, provide opportunity for Holy Hour in the Church for those who can’t make it in the morning period, as well as asking everyone to make more effort at making individual confessions. There is also confession every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the Church. The Holy Father, Pope Francis encourages everyone to strive to make regular confessions.
Confession is accountability to the Almighty God and a precursor to holiness and life of grace, without which it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We need to be right with our heavenly Father so as to be worthy to offer supplications for the rest of the world; the best part being our heavenly Father’s longing and eagerness to have us back like the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. St. James (5:16) admonishes us to “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” And St. John’s assurance to us is that “if we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)