Saturday, September 8, 2018

Homily for the Votive Mass for the Forgiveness of Sins

Fr. John Rizzo offers the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

On Friday, September 7th, Juventutem Boston hosted a Votive Mass for the Forgiveness of Sins, to beg God's forgiveness for those prelates and clergy who have committed the evil acts that are now scandalizing the Church and the whole world. We also asked God to forgive our own sins, knowing that sanctity begins with each and every one of us. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. John Rizzo, and the preacher was our very own Fr. Kwang Lee. His homily is reproduced below.


1. My dear friends, confronted by spectacular evil in the Church (as we have seen in the news recently), we feel (acutely) the desire to "do something" [1].

2. Most of us, however, are not private investigators or lawyers or members of the hierarchy. And, so, we have done what we could. We have expressed our sorrow and dismay to our Catholic leaders. We have offered our prayers for those who have been harmed by clergy sex abuse---for the many victims of these horrific crimes. Perhaps we have even tried to make some reparation to God, who is the principal party offended by sin. (Of course, that is the reason why we are here this evening.)

3. But we can do even more. Surrounded by darkness, Christians believers (you and I) can take very concrete measures to dispel it---beginning with ourselves. Through our own repentance and conversion, we allow the light of Christ to grow within ourselves, effecting real change in the state of the Church---indeed, of the world [2].

4. It may seem a small thing (my own reflected light), but it is the breaking in of a ray of Christ into a world darkened by evil.

5. Repentance and conversion are not easy. We need our Lord's help! And for this reason, our Lord tells us in our gospel (this evening), "Petite (ask), et dabitur vobis (and it will be given to you)!"

6. The Lord will give us grace, and we would like to correspond generously.


7. My dear friends, the history of the Church has proved that each new need, each new emergency to be faced, has invariably meant the appearance of new saints---saints whose particular sanctity answered those particular circumstances (those particular evils) [3]. Our age is no different.

8. Have you ever wondered, "Who will be the saints that God raises up in this age---in our own age---in this present crisis?" The answer is clear: you.

9. To be sure, great sanctity (for most of us) is not to be sought in the extraordinary (visions and miracles), but in the faithful and diligent carrying out of our ordinary duties at each moment of our day---carrying them out with love.

Our correspondence with grace, our struggle for daily conversion of life, will be the most powerful remedy for the Church's ills (indeed, for the world's ills).

As a modern saint once wrote, "These world crises are crises of saints" [4].


10. My dear friends, of this we may be absolutely certain: God is calling us to holiness now (not tomorrow!). Remember: he is counting on you. (There is no one else!)

Christ is counting on you.

May these dark times, then, be our "finest hour."




[1] "How can you say to my soul 'Rejoice?'" accessed from

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jean-Baptiste Chautard, *The Soul of the Apostolate*. (Trappist, Kentucky: Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc., 1946).

[4] Josemaría Escrivá, *The Way* accessed from