Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr
(Hebrews 12:18-19.21-24; Mark 6:17-13)
The woman came to the Sacrament of Reconciliation trembling. She wanted to confess a sin which was very embarrassing. She had never the courage to tell it to anyone before, even in confession. After acknowledging the deed, she left the confessional with a relieved heart. Her experience fulfills the promise made in the frist reading today.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews in our reading today exhorts his readers to come to the Lord. He says that just as the woman trembling in confession, they will find not harshness but mercy. God is supremely good, but His goodness should not cause people to feel humiliated as if it meant to put them down. Rather it is best described as “mercy within mercy.” Like a seasoned kindergarten teacher who helps children overcome their fears, God means to lift those who beg his pardon.
We should go to God in all human seasons: in good times to thank Him, in trying times to ask his help, in moments of folly to seek his mercy, and in sorrow to find his consolation.