Time is running out on our Liturgical Year. The new liturgical year begins in two Sundays with the beginning of Advent. The Sacred Scripture chosen for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time reflect not only the end of the Liturgical Year, but the end of time. Our readings from the Book of Daniel and the Gospel of Mark are apocalyptic. These readings presume a struggle between the forces of good and evil. But far from striking the fear of hell into us, apocalyptic Scriptures promise that in the end the power of God will break through. God is victorious over evil. Christians are to stand ready for either their own personal judgment or the judgment of the world at the end of time.
I've always viewed the Sacrament of Penance, confession, as a foretaste of purgatory and heaven, a foretaste of the end of time, at least mine own. In this sacrament Jesus scrutinizes us as we present to Him who we are. The Sacrament of Penance, even before we set foot in the confessional, indicates that we come before the Lord with a repentant heart. Only the repentant can enter the Kingdom of God and the confessional in a sense is the symbolic vestibule of God's Kingdom, the symbolic judgment seat of God that every Christian must enter where the soul is made perfect. In purgatory the soul is made perfect for eternity in heaven. Confession is a foretaste of this perfection when we leave with our sins forgiven our souls perfectly clean.
But alas, in the world temptation overwhelms us and we once again fall into sin, sometimes habitual sins. We're not perfect yet, but God is working on us and at our personal judgment there will be no return to the world with its temptations and sins. The soul by the grace of God, the Blood of Jesus and the Resurrection of Christ becomes perfect forever and enters the perfection of heaven where there is no such thing as temptation or sin.
When is the last time you experienced a foretaste of your personal judgment and purification in the Sacrament of Penance? Remember, only repentant sinners enter the Kingdom of God and the repentance must take place prior to the judgment if one has a snowball's chance in hell to enter heaven. Think about it.