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The Sacrament of Reconciliation in Advent

Tympanum from the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy, Conques, France
Tympanum from the Abbey Church of Sainte-Foy,
Conques, France, depicting the Last Judgement

Last week I did a little woodworking project and it was quite frustrating. I spent about an hour looking for my box of woodworking clamps and just couldn’t find them. Then as I was re-dimensioning some plywood, the battery ran out on my circular saw. Then the other battery ran out that was on the drill. Then I couldn’t find the drill case with the charger. Then I couldn’t find my handsaw to finish the cut. I finally got everything cut out to size and then I couldn’t find the glue. Well, at least by that time, I found the clamps. So three days to do something I should have completed in an hour.

If there ever were a metaphor for why we need Advent, a cluttered house is one of the best. It is very Scriptural. This Sunday Jesus reminds us that we have to have our houses in order for his return. Throughout Advent the prophets say to make the crooked ways straight and the valleys and hills into a flat plain. Remove all the obstacles for Christ’s entrance.

The Church’s selection of readings for the first two Sundays of Advent teach us that sin is the great obstacle that keeps us from God. In the first reading for Sunday, Isaiah says, “we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind.” Next Sunday we will hear the Baptist’s cry for repentance as the way to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

The Sacrament of Confession is the primary means a Catholic has to become right with God, to get our houses in order, and allow God’s grace to make us holy. Confession and Absolution removes the clutter of sin that makes us stumble around looking for everything but God Himself.

Normally Our Lady of the Lake and the churches of the deanery celebrate communal Reconciliation services. Our church has a soup supper before the service. The pandemic is requiring us to make other arrangements for celebrating Reconciliation. We will not be able to have a communal Penance service.

I will be offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation more frequently throughout the week during Advent. I’ll hear confessions in the cry room at the entrance of church from 9:00 to 9:45 AM on the Sundays of Advent. I will also hear confessions for an extra hour on Saturdays beginning at 3:00 PM until 4:45. I will hear confessions on Wednesdays during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. And I will hear confessions on Fridays from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM. As always, I am happy to hear confessions after masses if you wish. Also, if you would like to make an appointment for confessions throughout the week during the day, you can call the parish office or email me and we can set up a time.