1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
In our Passionist Parish in Tumbala, Chiapas, one of the challenges we have had for years is that of attracting people to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some misunderstandings have happened in the past. About 50 years ago, zealous missionaries told people that the poor need not go to confession. Their logic was that since the poor are God´s Elect no sin could be perpetrated by them. Fortunately, this, perhaps, only made sense to the missionaries and not so much to the people.
After a year of ministering here and as I get familiar with the culture(s) and cosmology(ies) of our parishioners, I have found in them a profound respect toward this sacrament. When people seek this sacrament, most begin with confessing their sins against their mothers or fathers. This left me perplexed, with more questions than answers. At first I thought that this was good-old Catholic guilt.
As a result of several conversations with catechists and other lay leaders, on the subject, I was told that, for them, our first sin is against the givers of life, mom and dad, and therefore God. By re-confessing their sins against their fathers and mothers they attempt to clear out that which blocks them from Grace. In other words, they are trying to not only clear out the splinters but also the wooden beams that do not allow them to participate fully in the Reigning of God.
Let us pray that between the wooden beams and splinters in our eyes, we too find some eye-drops for our hearts that may remove the vises that continue to disrupt the freedom and dignity to which we have been called by the Giver of Life.
Fr. Hugo Esparza-Pérez, C.P. is a Passionist of Holy Cross Province now working in Mexico with the Province of Cristo Rey.