I always practice the readings before I lector. That being accomplished, I’m ready to lector for Mass. Today, was no different.
I practiced, and I was ready! I don’t know what happened, but as I read, I realized the reading was different from the one I had practiced. I thought, maybe, I had just practiced incorrectly.
When I sat down, waiting for the psalm to begin, I saw Father Andrew speaking to the altar boy. The cantor began and psalm, and the altar boy walked up to the rambo and turned the pages. The young man then walked over to me and whispered, “You read the wrong reading. I turned the pages to the correct one.” Then, solemnly, he returned to his position near Father.
The time for the second reading came. I could see members of the congregation frantically turning pages as I read. Their fingers really got a workout. This time, I did read the correct reading. I don’t know what happened. I do know that I saw the reading I read marked “The Second Week of Lent.” I just know that I did something wrong, publicly.
Father was very kind. He had to change part of his homily because of my mistake. He just laughed when I apologized. He told me not to worry.
As embarrassed as I was, Father Andrew extended me the gift of forgiveness and mercy through his kindness. I thought of the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery and was taken to Jesus for judgment. Instead of throwing the first stone, He forgave her and protected her from the wrath of the those enforcing the law. (Perhaps the man with whom she was committing adultery was in the crowd?) He reminded these men that the first man to have no sin, could throw the first stone. No one did. They left Jesus with the woman. He told her not to sin again.
Can you imagine looking into the eyes of Jesus and seeing the unconditional love in His eyes pouring into your soul? Close your eyes and see Him looking back at you and smiling. Feel His love pierce your soul.
This is the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation. In the confessional, by the grace of God, the priest will forgive you your sins. It’s easy. Yes, you must confront your sins and your sinful nature. You must become humble and acknowledge your dependence on God, but through this sacrament, you will receive graces from God, and you will be reconciled to Him.
Yes, today was awkward, but when Father Andrew showed me his kindness and mercy, he forgave me my mistake. For that I am grateful. God is good!