Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
This is the fifth week of Lent, a time when we pause to consider Christ’s journey to Jerusalem and Calvary. How does one prepare for the suffering and death of Jesus? We begin by assuming our responsibility for His sacrifice. Many times throughout history, we have attempted to blame others for the cross: the Romans and their cruel captivity, and the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as Messiah. But, the reason that Jesus came was to redeem us from our sin. Try as many would like, we cannot exempt ourselves from being the cause of Jesus’ suffering and death. We are responsible. He came to save us and restore us to our rightful relationship with God. The disobedient sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, could only be rectified by the perfect obedience of the Son, who reflected the ultimate love of the Father.
The beauty of the sacrament of reconciliation is the ability for us to accuse ourselves of sin and seek forgiveness. It’s not easy to examine our lives and seek forgiveness. No one really likes to go to confession. Our modern society rationalizes personal sin; they offer all sorts of excuses to avoid the acceptance of personal responsibility. It’s the way one was raised, a lack of education or economic disadvantages. However, sin is still a personal choice. We choose either those actions which draw us closer to God, or those actions which turn us away from God’s love. As we progress in our own personal examination, what becomes obvious is our omissions in furthering the mission entrusted to us.
It is important for us to participate in the sacrament. I urge you to make this coming Holy Week special by availing yourself to God’s mercy. Perhaps, you might think that you have no sins, but remember sins of omission. Perhaps, you might think that your sins are too great, but no sin is too great for God’s mercy. Perhaps, you think that your sins are consistently the same over and over, so what’s the use? The sacrament of reconciliation brings hope, for only with and for Christ can we possibly be different.
I realize that confessional times are not always convenient. In honor of our 175th anniversary, on Wednesday, April 10 (tomorrow), designated churches throughout our ten deaneries will offer confession from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is important that we take responsibility before God for our actions. Each confession brings about a new beginning before God. Through confession, we prepare to hear Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them … And, I absolve you from these and all your sins.” Now, go and love God and LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the April 9, 2019 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.