From today’s second reading: 1 John 3:1-3
‘Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
Surely everyone who entertains this hope
must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.’
This must be one of my most favourite readings! I particularly love the first and last few words.
St John the Evangelist encourages us, in the very first line, to think about the love we received from God. Is this something we do? If not, why not take a moment, even just a couple of minutes, to think about the love God has given and continues to give us?
At the end of the reading we are encouraged to purify ourselves if we are serious about entertaining the hope of one day being with the Father in Heaven. What is this purification St John speaks of? Surely it is obvious to look to the Sacrament of Reconciliation which brings us purification straight from God! In confession we are cleansed of our sins and reunited completely with the Father. That is where we can be purified, that is where we can strive to be as pure as Christ, just like the Saints did through their lives.
This talk of confession actually brings to mind a true story I came across recently. It involved an exorcism back in the early twentieth century where a priest, who was carrying out the exorcism on a possessed 13 year old boy, could no longer continue the exorcism. A younger priest was asked to take over but before he would start he insisted on receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. His reason for this? Because he knew that there was a risk the devil would cast up his sins during the exorcism. Yet, should he receive the forgiveness of God for his sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the devil would be unable to cast these up. Apparently this is a common phenomenon through exorcisms over the years and is absolutely fascinating. To think the devil is unable to ridicule a person because God has forgiven them their sins simply goes to prove God’s power. It also proves the power of that most precious Sacrament of Reconciliation.