Sunday, July 23, 2006

on House Cleaning (?)

on House Cleaning
I know I'm a sinner and if Jesus walked through that door right now I'd fall on my knees. On my own, I'm not good enough to stand and reach out for his hand or to let him touch me or hug me. I know my heart and you know yours. When was the last time your soul was absolutely clean? When was it a place good enough to welcome Jesus the Savior into?
What if we were interrupted right now by a phone call from Celene Dion or some other famous singer/star? She and TV crews are at your home right now. They're ringing your doorbell at this moment and they want to know what time you can get there. Is your home ready for National TV? Are you ready for the world to sit in your kitchen? Would you happily welcome them in? Would you focus on Celene and her crew's comfort and needs? Or would you be distracted by the dish someone left in you sink...would you be worrying about the smudges on your mirror...or the fuzz ball under your coffee table? You wouldn't be focused on Celene because you'd be worried about your house being on TV for the world to see. But the truth is, in 50 years no one will care!
Name me something you did on January 16 in 1983. Tell me about any movie you saw or novel you read in 1985. What did you wear after school or to work in the spring of 1989. In August of '96 what were you worried about?
We can't remember any of those things now and they don't even matter. They seemed to matter very much at the time, though. So even if Celene Dion herself was at your house right now you'd be worried about something that would eventually be forgotten. In 5 years, you won't remember what you wore here today, nor any book or TV show. No one will really care if your dishes were done or your beds were made. But these are the things we DO with our lives. We prepare meals, wash dishes, go to work, and have conversations with friends. We shop, we clean, and we go to Baptisms, showers and weddings. But none of these things have lasting impact.
The one thing that could have an impact on your eternal life is being offered to you right now. The Sacrament of Reconciliation could make an eternal difference not only because it forgives sins but because in this Sacrament Jesus gives you the strength you need to live your life. So you need to make a decision. We are going to give you a written examination of conscience. The Joshua 2 group has used this examen once before. Review it very carefully and examine your soul. Then, make your decision. Will you spend your eternity with Jesus and your loved ones or will you choose something else? Do you choose- not to receive this Sacrament of God's mercy for some silly reason like pride? Or for some self righteous reason like you don't think you should have to tell your sins to another human being? If you're going to risk Jesus' completely loving presence in your soul for those reasons or any other, you're really taking a risk that could have everlasting results.
My suggestion is to clean your house, your soul-house. If you'd run home to prepare your human house for a star, they stay here and do some really important house keeping. Your soul is Jesus' home. I wouldn't invite any guest into an unwelcome place, would you? Clean up your soul now!
Sins are like burnt toast, let Reconciliation scrape away the bad parts. Scrape your soul clean and white. Make it pure and new. The Virgin Mary was blessed with a pure soul since her own conception. Then God decided to live inside her body for 9 months so she could give birth to his Son. Jesus can live inside our bodies, too, but we have to make our souls clean.
As Catholics we are blessed with a sacred ritual, it's a Sacrament that allows us the chance to start all over again. We get to clean up and become brand new. We get to scrape away our sins simply by being honest with ourselves and with God. And when we've asked for forgiveness, we receive the blessings of Jesus' love and mercy. He takes our dry, crusty old self and fills us up again. He gives us strength for the journey and peace for our souls. He fills up those empty holes our sins left behind and we are rejuvenated. We are made healthy and whole. We are again, the pure and innocent persons God created us to be. We get to start over WITH Him. Our souls are brand new like they were when we were baptized.
Can you imagine being brand new again? With your soul as whole and pure and white as a baby's? It can be clean and new because of this Sacrament. That's the kind of soul-home Jesus can get welcomed into. He can live in you completely and he won't be crowded out by your sins. Jesus Christ our Savior will make his home in you if you want him to. That's where he belongs. That's where he wants to be - as close to you as he can get.
He knows how hard this life is. He know all about your struggles. He knows you judge yourself and that others judge you harshly sometimes. People categorize us and place limits on us. We all do that to each other.
But now Jesus wants to remove all those uglies. All the sins listed on the examination of conscience can be admitted and forgiven. Now, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation Jesus wants to meet you face to face. He wants to look at you the way he looked at the Adulterous woman after others judged her and, probably, she judged herself. He wants to take your face into his hands and look into your eyes so he can forgive you. However, he will do that through the priest who is consecrated in his name. When the priest looks into your eyes, it is Jesus gazing at you. When the priest hears your sins, it is Jesus listening. When the priest speaks the words of forgiveness, it is Jesus speaking to you.
The priest is not waiting to condemn you, but to welcome you home. It is his function to celebrate the forgiveness that has already occurred between you and Jesus. The priest formally wipes the slate of your soul clean. He offers you the chance to begin again. He blesses you and gives you the strength you will need to stay on the right path.
Go meet him. Meet your Lord and Savior in the face of the priest during this sacred moment of reconciliation with your God and yourself.

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