When I was still a young servant in the parish, I had encountered a dilemma about the sacrament of confession, primarily because of my fear of being judged. Initially, I thought that confession was a forceful obligation rather than an act of trusting the Lord’s forgiveness of my sins. Most of the time, I would prefer to confess to other priests during the annual “Kumpisalang Bayan” in our parish since they do not know me personally.
The Gospel reminds me that every day is a call to repentance. Jesus invites me to admit my sinfulness and allow God’s grace to purify and transform my heart. I have sinned to various degrees, but pride and fear should not hinder me from embracing the fact that I am a sinner. God loves me just as I am, and He allows me to be vulnerable and depend only in His loving presence. Embracing my weaknesses and failures is part of the process that I need to go through to be a true follower of Christ.
Being here in the seminary, I realize that God has always been gracious and merciful to me throughout the years. Looking back to those moments when I had complete control over my decisions, I can attest that God has been faithful to His promise. He continually extends His hands to me, assuring me that I am called to forgiveness. As a priest-in-process, I am challenged to be a bearer of God’s mercy. He calls not the righteous but sinners to repentance. Sometimes, I imagine myself as one of those priests sitting and hearing confessions in the “Kumpisalang Bayan”. I know that with His grace, I may accompany people during their trying times someday. The seminary is really forming my heart as I pray to the Lord that He may use me as His instrument in letting people realize that repentance is an ongoing process. The Christian life is an endless journey of learning.
By: Sem. Peter John D. Arao
Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”