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HOMILY DEC 13, 2020

Updated: Jan 17



Click here to listen to today's message:

https://anchor.fm/frmarktoups/episodes/Clean-Slate-Ep--13-Today--in-our-world-NOW--how-does-God-wipe-the-slate-clean-enqka1


HOMILY NOTES


Clean Slate: A Four-Week Preaching Series during Advent

Week three: Weekend of December 12/13, 2020

A. A recap of where we have been: What does the story of the prodigal son teach us about how the slate is cleaned?

The son returned and Saw his father face to face

The son had the Courage to name his sin

The son risks the vulnerability of letting himself be seen in his repentance

The Father sees the son long before the son sees the father

The father sees the son differently than the son fears

The father takes the initiative towards reconciliation

None of the son’s fears come to fruition

B. Last week we asked: Do You want a clean slate?

Imagine if you could see God face to face?

Imagine if you could name sin specifically?

Imagine if you could risk the vulnerability to let yourself be seen?

God is waiting for you, just as was the father

God sees you differently than you fear

God is taking the initiative, reaching out to you

The good news: none of what you fear will come to fruition


C. How Does God clean the slate?

Last week we promised that today we would answer the following questions:

Where and how can we see God’s mercy face to face?

Where do we need the courage to name sin specifically?

Where do we need the courage to risk the vulnerability to let ourselves be seen?

Where is God is waiting for us, just as was the father?

Where does God sees us differently than we fear?

How is God taking the initiative, reaching out to us?

Where will none of what we fear will come to fruition?


A Bible study on the Sacrament of Reconciliation


D. Reclaiming the art of conversation: The Personal question

“Fr. Mark I simply confess my sins to God”

And, praise God, we should all do this.

Let us today rejoice that we are loved by a God who listens to our hearts.

The question today isn’t about what you say to Him, but about what He says to you.


May I simply invite you to consider:

The human person is not merely an intellectual being.

We have a body, and the body is not accidental or even “temporary” in the sense that one would err to think that we will be body-less in heaven.

God has given us all the treasures of the Catholic Church so that we might experience Him in our bodies.


Why would God desire something as deeply personal, liberating, and life-changing to not be experienced through all of our physical senses or limited to only spiritual senses?

E. Reclaiming the art of conversation: The Intellectual question

“Fr. Mark I Don’t believe I need to go to a Catholic priest in order to be forgiven”


May I simply invite you to consider:

Did you Baptize your own baby or did you ask a priest to act on God’s behalf for Baptism?

Do you attempt to consecrate bread and wine on your own or do you believe that a priest can act on God’s behalf at Mass?

If you were to come face to face with the intensity of someone who was demoniacally possessed, would you attempt to confront Evil on your own or would you ask for a priest to act on God’s behalf?


May I simply invite you to consider:

Are you able to assent to the consideration that in some circumstances an ordained priest acts on behalf of God? If so, why wouldn’t he act on God’s behalf with something as deeply personal, liberating, and life-changing as the forgiveness of our sins?

If you are not able to assent to the consideration that an ordained priest can act on behalf of God, then may I ask:

a. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

b. If so, how? Without the Bible, how can one believe in Jesus Christ?

c. And, if you do believe in the Bible, then do you believe in all of it, or only parts of it?

d. And, if only parts of it, how do you determine, on your own, which parts to believe?


F. Reclaiming the art of conversation: The Biblical question

“Fr. Mark Where in the Bible does it say I have to go to confession to a priest?”

1. Bible Passage no. 1: Old Testament Book of Leviticus 5:13-15

If a person, either having seen or come to know something, does wrong by refusing as a witness under oath to give information,a that individual shall bear the penalty; or if someone, without being aware of it, touches any unclean thing, such as the carcass of an unclean wild animal, or an unclean domestic animal, or an unclean swarming creature, and thus is unclean and guilty; or if someone, without being aware of it, touches some human uncleanness,c whatever kind of uncleanness this may be, and then subsequently becomes aware of guilt; or if someone, without being aware of it, rashly utters an oath with bad or good intent,d whatever kind of oath this may be, and then subsequently becomes aware of guilt in regard to any of these matters—when someone is guilty in regard to any of these matters, that person shall confess the wrong committed, and make reparation to the LORD for the wrong committed: a female animal from the flock, a ewe lamb or a she-goat, as a purification offering. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the individual’s behalf for the wrong. If, however, the person cannot afford an animal of the flock, that person shall bring to the LORD as reparation for the wrong committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a purification offering and the other for a burnt offering.


The guilty party shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer the one for the purification offering first. ... he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the purification offering against the side of the altar. The rest of the blood shall be drained out against the base of the altar. It is a purification offering. ... Thus the priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed, so that the individual may be forgiven.


2. Bible Passage no. 2: Old Testament Book of Numbers 5:5:5-7

The LORD said to Moses: Tell the Israelites: If a man or a woman commits any offense against another person, thus breaking faith with the LORD, and thereby becomes guilty, that person shall confess the wrong that has been done, make restitution in full, and in addition give one fifth of its value to the one that has been wronged.

3. Bible Passage no. 3: New Testament Gospel of Matthew 9:2-8

And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.


4. Bible Passage no. 4: New Testament Gospel of Matthew 28:18

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me”

5. Bible Passage no. 5: New Testament Gospel of John 20:19&21

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” ... [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

F. Continued: “Fr. Mark Where in the Bible does it say I have to go to confession to a priest?”

6. Bible Passage no. 6: New Testament Gospel of John 20:19&21-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” ... [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

7. Bible Passage no. 7: New Testament Letter of James 5:13-15

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters (the ordained priests) of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.


G. Reclaiming the art of conversation: The Intellectual question

“Fr. Mark I don’t trust the priesthood”

May I speak directly, and with all sincerity, to the reality of that pain?

H. How Does God clean the slate?

Last week we promised that today we would answer the following questions:

Where and how can we see God’s mercy face to face?

Where do we need the courage to name sin specifically?

Where do we need the courage to risk the vulnerability to let ourselves be seen?

Where is God is waiting for us, just as was the father?

Where does God sees us differently than we fear?

How is God taking the initiative, reaching out to us?

Where will none of what we fear will come to fruition?

I. An Encouragement regarding the Sacrament of reconciliation

Is difficult or uncomfortable to name sin specifically?

Is difficult or uncomfortable to risk the vulnerability to let ourselves be seen?

Is there sometimes a fear of what will come to fruition?

J. Trust the process. Let’s all do the homework.

Podcasts daily (during this series): www.ourladyoftheisle.com

Want them delivered to your phone (via text) or email? www.marktoups.com.


K. Going deeper

Watch Why We Confess

www.htdiocese.org/whyweconfess

Password is “wwc”

3-part video teaching on the Sacrament of Reconciliation

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