In the last few years, we have had children in our parish receiving their First Holy Communion on the feast of Corpus Christ. It was the same this year (ie two Sundays ago). Leading up to their Holy Communion, the children also received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time, or “made their first Confession”. We prepare the children’s parents who were supposed to prepare the children. At one of the meetings, I had expressed to the parents the hope that their children’s experience of God’s forgiveness would be one that is positive: that God’s forgiveness is received with a sense of peace and joy, and of love and healing, of a sense of a chance to start again rather than a feeling of anxiety, fear or unresolved guilt. The children are still young, and no one expects them to come with “big” sins. With a well formed conscience, hopefully, the occasions for “big sins” will be few and far in between in their lives. However, any priest-confessor would agree with me that it is so much more uplifting to come across a repentant ‘big’ sinner with a repentant heart and is overjoyed at receiving forgiveness, than a sinner with a dulled conscience like David (as in the First Reading). This Sunday’s Gospel brings us to the awareness of the response of a sinful woman (Scripture Scholars think she was a prostitute). She was overjoyed – after all the forgiveness was unmerited. She expressed outwardly her joy by wiping Jesus feet with her hair.
Often what can be lacking in so many of us is a response of gratitude and love for the gifts we receive. We often put no heart into them. Like God’s Mercy, the Mass too is sometimes taken for granted. The mass should always be a conversion experience for us also for it is another unmerited gift from God, and it is a Gift of God Himself. The words near the end of the First Eucharistic Prayer communicates this: “Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness. ”.
May we always find joy in God’s mercy, and in the Gift of Himself in the Eucharist
Lord have mercy! Fr Michael