Lenten Retreat Week Five: The Gift of Confession
Hello friends, and welcome to week five of our Lenten retreat!
The mission of The SundayMonday is to encourage and equip all of us to be bold in our faith, work, and life. Each Sunday this Lent, we’ll be sending out a reflection on the Gospel and how it pertains to living our faith at work. My prayer is that these short, practical emails will propel us all into the work week, ready to tackle anything that might be thrown at us with peace, joy, and courage.
This week’s Gospel is John 8:1-11 here, or scroll to the bottom of the email and come back up for the reflection.
“God never tires of forgiving us, but we sometimes tire of asking Him to forgive us. Let us never tire of asking God’s forgiveness. He is the loving Father who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us.”
– Pope Francis
In this week’s Gospel, we see Jesus encounter a woman who has committed adultery, and a crowd of people eager to condemn her. When asked how to respond, He says only ““Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Not a single person – there on that day, or in the 2000-ish years since – could throw a stone. Not one of us is without sin. It’s the human condition. Jesus knows that, and the church knows that. Christ knew that we would not be able to resist sin or temptation in our own strength or through our own will. That’s why He instituted the sacrament of confession, saying to His apostles: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18). Through the sacrament of confession, we are forgiven our sins. But that’s not all – we are also given the free gift of grace, grace that can help us stand stronger and fight sin with His help.
Confession is not about shame, or guilt – it’s a sacrament of grace. Going to confession doesn’t just wipe us clean, it rejuvenates us with all the grace that we need to go out and “sin no more.” We walk out of the confessional covered in grace. So why are we so reluctant to receive this gift? The lines for communion are long (praise God), but the lines for confession are short.
In these final two weeks of Lent, I encourage us all to make a good confession. I like to go to the church and bring my heart to Jesus before confession. I ask Him what I need to confess, and He often reminds me of things I didn’t even think about. This time before Christ before confession grants me the grace to truly reflect on the places I need Him to enter into and heal. It also allows Him to love me, so that when I enter into the confessional I’m entering in total peace and surrounded by love.
This podcast episode on the sacrament of confession with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal is amazing, and I highly recommend listening to it as well!
So in case the challenge this week wasn’t clear above – go to confession! I’m in it with you. Let’s enter in to the sacrament and receive the graces so freely given.
This week’s Gospel
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
- For a few special intentions.
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.