Crossing the line

Last Thursday, I went to the penitential service at st Mary of the angels. It is a communal Sacrament of Reconciliation which is usually held a week before the Holy Week. It is an invitation from the Church to all its family member to confess their sin as a preparation for Easter. The different as compared to the usual confession is that at the penitential service the parishioner come together and pray together before they will go individually to confess their sins to the priest. So we can see the church full of people to confess their sins.

We confess our sins, of course because we committed sin before. We may have different understanding regarding sin. Perhaps it is about breaking God’s Law, or Church Law. Perhaps its about hurting other people. But let us take a look at the definition of Sin given by the Church. Its taken from the catechism paragraph 1849-1851


1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”121

1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”122 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125

1851 It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and the people, Pilate’s cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas’ betrayal – so bitter to Jesus, Peter’s denial and the disciples’ flight. However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this world,126 the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.

We may think committing sin is when we crossed the line. Well in reality I believe the line is drawn for my own sake. I must thank the Church for drawing the lines for me. Even though some people would think that the Church is just trying to control the people, in contrary I feel the Church is trying to prevent us from inflicting wound toward myself and other people. When I crossed the line it means I chose darkness over light. I chose Not-Love over Love. I chose immediate selfish gratification over eternal life. I chose FEAR over Courage and truth.

Penitential service give me a consolation, that I am not alone. Together with my other brothers and sisters in the church we pray together, and confess our sin to receive the forgiveness of our sin. I am very grateful for the blessing during the service, as I confessed my sin, God showed His love and forgiveness through His priest. God invited me to love Him more by repenting from my sins. So its not merely about doing right or wrong but about loving or less/not loving. Loving someone can be difficult.

We crossed the line when we commit sin, but through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are invited to repent, to turn back on our sin path and come back to God. We are invited like Peter when Jesus conversed with Him beside the campfire. We are invited to walk and cross back the line and to come back to the Light.

I pray for the Holy Week, so that we may love God more and encounter Jesus in our life.