The scriptures today remind us of that mercy that is found in God. Moses called upon that mercy for God's people whom he was chosen to lead. Even though through their hardness of heart and complaining before God they had lost their way and were deserving of the punishment that God was justified in afflicting, Moses said "Hold on!" Why give up on them now, when your very existence is love and mercy. And the Lord relents. Paul reminds his readers that though he was a great sinner who fell way short of the mark of God's expectations, the mercy of the Lord has given him a ministry which is outstanding. It is God, Paul reminds them, who does this great thing. And in the gospel we are invited to search for what we have lost in ourselves, to repent, and be restored in grace and rejoicing.
There is the old axiom - "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" As we face the self absorption of a society that denies the importance and even at times the existence of God and as we realize that the great Sacrament of Reconciliation is so infrequently approached, we may ask the question why? Is it because we have lost a sense or personal knowledge of God and therefore we fail to approach his mercy and accept his love? Or is it because we fail to see our need of that mercy and love so we fail to see and embrace the One who is pure mercy and love? I am not sure of the answer ... but I suspect that it is both. I do know that there needs to be a call to conversion, an invitation to repentance, an embrace of new life as we embrace the living God.
In our Diocese during this Year of Faith, each Region of the Diocese is sponsoring a series of special Communal Penance Services in selected parishes in this next month or so. In our Region we begin tomorrow afternoon at Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville at 1:00 pm. There should be thirteen of us waiting to be confessors. I hope and pray that we are very busy!
I met with our Pastoral Council this afternoon for an evaluative discussion of the parish over dinner at the House. It was very good - both the meeting as well as the dinner. I am very grateful to the nine parishioners who joined with me today. God bless them.