This Sunday we hear Isaiah proclaim that at the coming of the Lord: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low.” For people in a mountainous area who travel by foot, this sounds like paradise! If all other mountains are made low, then the mountain of Jerusalem, God’s holy city, would be visible to all of Israel. This is an ideal for pilgrims.
There is a down-side to this leveling, though. All things are made visible if the land is flat. You cannot hide from your enemies. You cannot even hide from your sins. We are exposed to God’s sight, which can be intimidating. Yet, here again, Isaiah gives us comfort: “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs.” God is seeking us out like lost sheep to gather us to Himself, not to condemn.
As we approach our Advent Reconciliation Service at the Church of Saint Henry this Sunday, I think of those people who have been away from Confession for a long time. I wonder: what is it that keeps them away? Is it fear? Why fear forgiveness? Is it lack of knowledge of their own sin? I doubt we have to look too closely at ourselves to find something we need to work on. Is it a lack of understanding of the Sacrament? Christ Himself gave his priests the responsibility to forgive sins in His Name (John 20:20-23).
The priest is there to help you, not shame you. Take the leap of faith and Go to Confession! We cannot hide from the sight of God, so why pretend otherwise? It is far better for us to look up to Him in humility and seek forgiveness. Be stouthearted (Psalm 27:14) and trust in the Lord!