In his homily as Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis said that the Sacrament of Confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to remove a stain, but an encounter with God who never tires of forgiving us.
According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s first reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, which speaks of a new covenant made by God to his people. “They will all know me, the least no less than the greatest, since I will forgive their iniquities and never call their sins to mind,” the reading states.
The Pope noted the aspect of forgiveness that encompasses this new covenant made by God through Jesus Christ. “First of all, God always forgives us. He never tires of this. It’s we who become tired of asking for forgiveness,” he said.
“But HE does not tire of pardoning us. When Peter asked Jesus: ‘How many times must I forgive? Seven times?’ – ‘Not seven times: seventy times by seven.’ Namely always. That’s how God forgives us: always.”
Emphasizing the mercy of God, the Holy Father went on to say that even if a person has lived a life of sin but in the end is repentant and asks for forgiveness, God, “will immediately pardon you!”
“He forgives everything. If you go (to confession) repentant, He will forgive everything,” he said. “So many times He doesn’t even let you speak! You start to ask for forgiveness and He lets you feel that joy of forgiveness before you have even finished confessing everything.”
The Jesuit Pope also spoke on the Sacrament of Confession, saying that while to some it may seem like a formality, it is actually a meeting with God who “pardons you, embraces you and rejoices.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis stressed the need for Christians to teach others, especially children and youth, the value of a good confession. “We too need to teach [others]: teach our children, our youth to make a good confession, because going to confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to get a stain removed,” he explained.
“No! It’s about going to meet with our Father who reconciles, who forgives us and who rejoices.”