Monday, September 23, 2019

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, priest

(Ezra 1:1-6; Luke 8:16-18)

In some circles Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., has the status of a movie star.  He is famous for his work  with the Eternal Word Television Network.  Every year Fr. Pacwa goes to a Maronite church outside Dallas for Holy Week.  There he celebrates mass and hears confessions.  He is so well considered that penitents wait all night to confess their sins to him.  As remarkable as it sounds, St. Pius of Pietrelcina – Padre Pio - had an even longer line of penitents.  Busloads of people would come to the Italian town where he lived to have him hear their sins.  It is said that he spent ten hours each day in the confessional.

Both Padre Pio and Fr. Pacwa are sure administrators of Jesus’ judgment.  In today’s gospel the Lord speaks of a lamp that is placed on a stand so that it can give light.  Of course, Jesus himself is the lamp, the “light to nations.”  He enables people to correctly evaluate the grey areas that pervade most lives.  Jesus tells his disciples, “Take care.”  He means that they should be attentive to all that he says so that they will live righteously.

Should we take care in choosing a confessor?  Some state correctly but perhaps unhelpfully that any priest will do.  True, our sins can be absolved by any priest.  But still some are more helpful than others in pointing out how the gospel affects our lives.  We are wise to look for these when we confess our sins.