Before you can catechize and before you can explore the richness of the Catholic faith, souls must be liberated from sin and its effects; souls must be brought to conversion. When a person is bound by mortal sin and strong attachments to the things of this world, spiritual realities have a certain dullness and unintelligibility. To enter into the Divine mysteries, the intellect and the will must be inspired and motivated to embrace the possibility of a whole new reality made possible by Jesus Christ.

That is why Jesus Christ’s ministry centered around his proclamation of liberation to those held captive by sin. He proclaimed freedom to those held bound by death, illness, injustice, and the plurality of ways in which sin has distorted the human experience. His miracles were a prophetic sign of the new life he opened by his death and resurrection. Our preaching must be grounded in the mission of the master. We must imitate his example.

That is why confession is the linchpin of the New Evangelization. By giving the authority to forgive sins to his apostles and to the Church, Jesus Christ allows us to extend his invitation of freedom, healing, and reconciliation with the world. The more we lead souls to the forgiveness offered in confession, the more our parishes will experience an inner renewal and transformation.

Instead of being centered on the details that must accompany the mission, we will discover our true identity in Christ and our orientation towards service. Elements such as finances, management, and offering programs are an integral part of parish ministry, but they can obscure the true purpose of our activity when they are not grounded in the call to conversion. As we live out conversion in our parishes, new horizons will be opened up as we begin to rely less on our own resources and more on the work of the Holy Spirit.

That is why we must live and offer conversion. In this way, confession is the means of us learning to open our hearts to Christ and the means by which we will help people to experience freedom and healing. Today, let us offer this incredible gift to the world.