Monsignor Yennock on Confession - Homily from December 18, 2016

Dec 19, 2016

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

DECEMBER 18, 2016

 

TOMORROW, MONDAY, DECEMBER 19 THE CHURCH LIGHT WILL BE ON FOR YOU. PRIESTS IN EVERY PARISH OF THE DIOCESE WILL BE IN THE CONFESSIONAL FROM 4 TO 7 P.M.

 

WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, THERE WERE LONG CONFESSION LINES IN EVERY CHURCH ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. THAT IS NOT HAPPENING TODAY.

 

I REMEMBER READING AT THAT TIME ABOUT A PSYCHIATRIST WHO DECIDED TO GO TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON TO OBSERVE THE PENITENTS.

 

HE SAID HE WAS WATCHING A YOUNG LADY WHO APPEARED TO BE IN GREAT DISTRESS. AS SHE KNELT IN THE PEW HE COULD SEE HER FACE. HER EXPRESSION REVEALED STRESS, WORRY AND CONFLICT.

 

AFTER A WHILE SHE GOT UP AND WENT INTO THE CONFESSIONAL.  SHE WAS THERE ONLY A BRIEF TIME. BUT WHEN SHE CAME OUT THE EXPRESSION ON HER FACE WAS COMPLETELY CHANGED. SHE SEEMED MORE RELAXED. THERE WAS ALMOST A GLOW ON HER FACE FROM THE PEACE THAT SHE SEEMED TO BE EXPERIENCING.

 

THE PSYCHIATRIST SAID THAT HE WOULD HAVE CONSIDERED HIMSELF VERY SUCCESSFUL IF HE COULD HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT A CHANGE LIKE THAT AFTER WEEKS AND MONTHS OF THERAPY.

 

SOMEONE WISELY SAID: PSYCHOANALYSIS IS CONFESSION WITHOUT ABSOLUTION.

 

HEALTHY GUILT, IS COMMON TO EVERY HUMAN BEING EXCEPT FOR THOSE FEW UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE THAT WE CALL SOCIOPATHS. THE CREATOR PROGRAMMED US WITH A SENSE OF GUILT TO PROTECT US FROM ONE ANOTHER AND TO REMIND US THAT WE ARE SUBJECT TO A HIGHER POWER.

 

MANY PEOPLE TODAY ARE SADDENED BY THEIR LACK OF PEACE. GUILT ROBS US OF PEACE OF MIND.

 

THE FIRST THING JESUS SAID TO THE APOSTLES ON EASTER SUNDAY NIGHT WAS: “PEACE BE WITH YOU”. THEY FELT GUILTY AND EMBARASSED BECAUSE THEY RAN AWAY WHEN HE WAS ARRESTED THE THURSDAY BEFORE.

 

JESUS DIDN’T WANT THEM TO REMAIN TOO LONG IN THAT STATE OF GUILT. HIS LOVE AND HIS COMPASSION WOULD NOT ALLOW HIM TO DELAY THE FORGIVENESS THAT HE HAD IN HIS HEART FOR THEM.

THAT’S WHAT CONFESSION IS ABOUT.

 

CONFESSION IS ABOUT THE HOUND OF HEAVEN GOING OUT SEARCHING FOR THE LOST SHEEP. CONFESSION IS THE LOVING FATHER RUNNING DOWN THE ROAD TO BRING HIS WAYWARD SON SAFELY HOME.

 

ON THAT SAME NIGHT, IN THAT SAME UPPER ROOM JESUS, AFTER FORGIVING HIS DISCIPLES GAVE THEM THE POWER TO FORGIVE OTHERS WHEN HE SAID: “WHOSE SINS YOU SHALL FORGIVE THEY ARE FORGIVEN. WHOSE SINS YOU SHALL RETAIN THEY ARE RETAINED.” HE SHARED THAT DIVINE POWER TO FORGIVE SINS WITH HIS FIRST PRIESTS.

 

WHEN THOSE PRIESTS LEFT THAT UPPER ROOM IN JERUSALEM THEIR FIRST PRIORITY WAS TO GO OUT AND TO SEARCH FOR SINNERS. THEY WERE SO ELATED THAT THEY COULD DISPENSE GOD’S MERCY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE THEY WANTED TO USE THAT POWER TO FORGIVE SINS IN THE NAME OF THE MOST HIGH GOD.

 

TO THE JEWS OF JESUS TIME IT WAS UNHEARD OF THAT MEN SHOULD DARE TO FORGIVE SINS. WHEN JESUS SAID TO THE LAME MAN YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN THEY SAID TO HIM: YOU BLASPHEME, ONLY GOD CAN FORGIVE SINS.

 

JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD. THE PRIEST IS HIS SURROGATE IN CONFESSION. HE FORGIVES SINS NOT IN HIS NAME BUT IN THE NAME OF THE MOST HIGH GOD.

 

A MAN SAID TO ME ONCE: “I KNOW THAT I NEED CONFESSION. I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I FEEL MUCH BETTER AFTER I GO TO CONFESSION. I HAVE NO PROBLEM SAYING THAT I LIED, THAT I WAS MEAN THAT I WAS GREEDY AND SELFISH. BUT IT IS STILL DIFFICULT FOR ME TO CONFESS SINS AGAINST THE SIXTH AND NINTH COMMANDMENTS.

 

I AM ASHAMED AND EMBARASSED BY MY LACK OF SELF-CONTROL AND MY LACK OF SELF-DISCIPLINE.

 

THIS CONFESSION MOVED ME DEEPLY. I HAD NEVER HEARD SUCH AN HONEST AND SINCERE EXPRESSION OF A FEELING THAT WE HAVE ALL HAD AT SOME TIME OR OTHER IN OUR LIVES. THE BLESSED MOTHER IS PROBABLY THE ONLY HUMAN PERSON WHO HAS NEVER EXPERIENCED THE GUILT OF THE SIN OF IMPURITY.

 

IF EVERYBODY HAD PERFECT SELF-CONTROL IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES THERE WOULD BE NO SIN. YOU KNOW AND I KNOW THAT THERE IS NO ONE WHO HAS PERFECT CONTROL OVER EVERY PASSION OF THEIR LIVES WHETHER IT’S PURITY, GREED, ENVY, ANGER OR ANY OTHER PASSION. 

 

SINS AGAINST THE SIXTH AND NINTH COMMANDMENTS ARE SINS OF HUMAN WEAKNESS.  THEY DESERVE THE SAME UNDERSTANDING AND COMPASSION AS ANY OTHER SIN. NEITHER GOD NOR THE PRIEST IN CONFESSION ARE SHOCKED BY SINS OF THE FLESH.

 

AS SERIOUS AS THEY MAY BE, SINS OF THE FLESH ARE NOT THE WORST SINS THAT WE CAN COMMIT. SINS THAT DESTROY THE FAITH OF OTHERS ARE WORSE SINS. SINS OF BAD EXAMPLE ESPECIALLY TO THE YOUNG ARE WORSE SINS. SINS THAT DESTROY PEOPLE’S GOOD NAME ARE WORSE SINS. SINS THAT DEFRAUD THE ORPHANS AND WIDOWS ARE WORSE SINS. SINS THAT BLASPHEME GOD—SINS THAT IGNORE GOD—SINS THAT WE COMMIT BY FAILING TO WORSHIP GOD ON SUNDAYS AND HOLYDAYS—THESE ARE WORSE SINS THAN THE SINS OF THE FLESH.

 

THE WORST SIN OF ALL IS TO DENY THAT WE HAVE SINNED. THAT DENIAL MAKES US A HYPOCRITE. AND JESUS CONDEMNED HYPOCRICY.

 

ONE OF THE REASONS PEOPLE DO NOT GO TO CONFESSION TODAY IS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED BY A CULTURE THAT DENIES THAT THERE IS ANY SUCH THING AS SIN.

 

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT STATISTICS AND WONDER WHY MORE PEOPLE AREN’T GOING TO CONFESSION.

 

PORNOGRAPHY HAS CATAPULTED TO A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY.

PRESENT STATISTICS REVEAL THAT 70% OF MEN AND 30% OF WOMEN WATCH PORN.

THE USE OF PORNOGRAPHY INCREASES THE MARITAL INFIDELITY RATE BY MORE THAN 300%.

THE AVERAGE AGE OF FIRST INTERNET EXPOSURE TO PORNOGRAPHY IS 11 YRS. OLD.

9 OUT OF 10 CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 8 AND 16 HAVE VIEWED PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET, IN MOST CASES UNINTENTIONALLY.

WE KNOW THAT CATHOLICS ARE ALMOST 25% OF THE POPULATION.

WE KNOW THAT CATHOLICS DO NOT DIFFER MUCH FROM THE GENERAL POPULATION. IT DOESN’T TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO CONCLUDE THAT OUR CONFESSION LINES SHOULD BE MUCH LONGER EVERY WEEK.  

 

CAN IT BE THAT OUR GOOD PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO CONFESSION BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED BY THE LATE NIGHT SHOWS WHO ARE SENDING OUT THE MESSAGE THAT SEX IS NOT A MORAL ISSUE?  HAVE EVEN OUR GOOD PEOPLE FALLEN FOR THE LINE THAT ALL BEHAVIOR IS MORAL?

 

THESE ARE SOME OF THE CONCLUSIONS ABOUT “ALL BEHAVIOR IS MORAL”:

 

THERE IS NO GOD.

JESUS WAS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SIN AND NO NEED FOR CONFESSION.

WE DO NOT HAVE TO FEAR GOD OR HELL. WE NEED ONLY TO FEAR ONE ANOTHER.

 

I HOPE TO GOD THAT I AM WRONG IN MY ANALYSIS. I HOPE TO GOD THAT WE ARE NOT REALLY PAGANS BUT MAYBE JUST ASHAMED, LAZY OR FORGETFUL.

 

IN TODAY’S GOSPEL THE ANGEL SAYS: “YOU ARE TO BEAR A SON AND YOU ARE TO NAME HIM JESUS BECAUSE HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS. IF WE WANT TO CALL JESUS SAVIOR WE HAVE TO ASK HIM TO FORGIVE OUR SINS.

 

PLEASE PRAY FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO CONFESSION DURING THIS ADVENT SEASON THAT THEY MAY MAKE A GOOD, HONEST AND SINCERE CONFESSION.