FATHER SAM’S MESSAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
St. Peter’s words to Jesus in today’s Gospel strike a powerful chord in my heart. “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” In awe of the miracle Jesus has performed, in awe of the power of God on display before his eyes, Peter recognizes his own unworthiness, his own sinfulness, his own smallness compared to God’s grandeur. Notice what Jesus does and does not do. He does call Peter. Jesus does not dispute the fact that Peter is, in his own words, “a sinful man.” So it is with us. Jesus calls us, sinners though we are - he does not dispute our unworthiness, but instead, by his merciful grace, enables us to receive his Eucharistic presence.
In this last week before we begin the holy season of Lent, it is good for us to be reminded of our own unworthiness before the great gift of mercy that is present in the Eucharist. Jesus is truly here in sacramental form, awaiting us every day. How can we better prepare to receive Jesus? The best way is by celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession. When we confess our sins, we echo Peter’s confession, and when we are absolved, we hear Jesus say to us, “I will make you fishers of men.” We should make it a point to go to confession often and to examine our consciences well. In the Year of Mercy, I urge you to take advantage of the sacrament and to make a habit of receiving the graces available in confession. Here at St. Pius, confessions will be heard on Thursday evenings from 7 pm - 8:30 pm beginning on Feb. 11. Priests from the area will be here, in addition to our own parish clergy. Additionally, we have confessions on Saturdays from 4 pm - 4:45 pm. Peter asks Jesus to depart from him. But Jesus invites Peter to stay with Him and to learn the true meaning of mercy. May our celebration of the Year of Mercy, our reception of the Eucharist, our confession of sin, be for us a lesson in mercy and a source of grace!