From the Pastor – September 6, 2015

frmnicks_mug_smallPreviously we began our consideration on why many Christians have distanced themselves from regularly receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We first looked at the temptation to deny the reality of sin in our lives. However, we saw that, to deny our sin was to deny our need for a savior. In effect, we deny Jesus Christ.

This week, we consider another reason that is stated along these lines: “I can just tell God I am sorry, why do I need to go to confession?” It is a fair question. Effectively we want to know what is to be gained from receiving this sacrament on a regular basis. Why go?

The first reason is the most important, though it will probably sound overly simplistic. We go to confession because that is what Jesus wants. In scripture we read that Jesus, speaking to his apostles: “said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’” If Jesus, in sending out his apostles, gave them this godlike power, he did it because he wants it to be used! Elsewhere in scripture we hear that we are to “confess our sins to one another.” If we are called to confess our sins to others, it just makes sense to confess them to those who have been given the power to forgive them.

The second reason is a human or natural reason. It is simply good to bear our souls to another person. We can certainly do that with a counselor or with a confidant, or – without payment and without the need of a long term relationship – we can do it in confession. Indeed, the sacrament of reconciliation is the one place where you can bear your soul with unconditional confidentiality. There are no exceptions or loopholes to this rule. The seal of the confessional is absolute. Whatever is revealed in confession, stays in confession, period. Yes, it can be embarrassing and humbling to bring forward those areas of our lives of which we are ashamed. But that is exactly why it is so healing. There is no sin, no dark corner of the human heart that cannot be poured out in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; and the penitent, in so doing, encounters mercy and healing.

Besides being faithful to Jesus’ gift and the natural human benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there are the spiritual benefits as well. Chief among them and the most obvious is the forgiveness of sins. Of course, every time we sin we can and should turn to God in prayer and ask for his mercy. Many, though, have wondered: Was I sorry enough? How often should I ask? How do I know I am forgiven? When will I experience God’s mercy?

Among other things, Sacraments were given so we could have certainty of God’s action in our lives. Reconciliation is no exception. We read in scripture that Jesus gave authority to forgive sins to his apostles. The apostles passed their authority on to bishops and priests through the laying on of hands. Therefore, when we confess our sins and hear the priest say, “I absolve you from your sins,” at that very moment, we know with certainty, we are forgiven. With that certainty, comes great peace.

In Christ,
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Fr. Nicks

Thomas Smith Speaking in Walla Walla, WA (St. Patrick Church) – 10/12/2015

A three night presentation in English to the Walla Walla (and surrounding small towns) Catholic community.

Mr. Smith will speak on ” Word, Worship and Works of Mercy” over three evenings, with Q & A and social time to follow each presentation. This event is being called a mission and will be open to the Walla Walla Catholic community and to anyone else who would like to attend. This event starts off the Know Love & Serve – Priority 1 (Leadership and Faith Formation) set by the Spokane diocese. This year the Walla Walla Catholic community will focus especially on the role of discipleship.

More information here.

Give The Gift Of Sight

Recycle your old glasses. A Knights of Columbus project.

The Word of God and Community

The word of God is meant for the community. In the United States, we have an individualistic notion of religion. We tend to relate to God as individuals. This is very different from the Jewish concept of the religious community. God took the people of Israel as the chosen people, not as individuals, but as a whole people. As the people of God gathered by God’s call and assembled in Christ’s name, we become the Body of Christ in this assembled community. As the church we have a special relationship with Christ, with God. During the liturgy we pray that God look not on our sins, but on the faith of God’s church. We address God in this way because of our relationship through baptism with the greater community of the church.

Firefighters and Victims of Fires

Firefighters and victims of fires need our prayers and support more than ever!

Food For The Hungry

Please remember to bring non-perishable food items when you come to Mass. Cash donations allow BMAC to get more bang for the buck! Write a check payable to BMAC, c/o your parish, and drop it in the collection basket.

Human Trafficking

Join a committee to discuss this terrible victimization of the vulnerable and to develop a program to educate the community on what we can do to combat it. (Program will be presented next spring.) Contact Judy and Chris Pinney, ww.pinney@gmail.com or Casey Burns cbke2001@gmail.com.

Catholic Daughters

Meeting, September 8 at St. Patrick’s John of the Cross room. Rosary, 6:30 pm. This tri-parish organization joins like-minded women who want to meet the needs of our church. New members welcome. Sharon, 525-3120 for questions.

Late Night Catechism

Catholic Charities is hosting a production of Late Night Catechism, September 12th at the Gesa Power House Theatre at 7:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 for social hour and raffle tickets). Tickets: www.phtww.com or, 529-6500.

Responsorial Psalm II

Why is the psalm called “responsorial?” In a certain sense, the psalm is a response to the first reading. The name, however, derives from the fact that it is in an antiphonal “call and response” format. It is representative of the dialogical nature of the liturgy itself, sort of a “conversational” form of prayer. This is why it is important to use musical settings that honor that format, rather than hymns that are based on psalms, but which have no repeated antiphon.