“Hear the Word of God to all who truly turn to him. Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the perfect offering for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.” These “Comfortable Words” first appeared in the Anglican Prayer Book in 1549 and are present after the Confession in our Rite I service. In medieval masses, there was no General Confession since forgiveness was only possible at a private confession. Moreover, you could not receive eucharist unless you had been to confession. Prior to the Reformation, Eucharist was only offered on Easter, so people went to confession during Holy Week. Reformers desired weekly eucharists, so the general confession was introduced. The Comfortable Words underpinned the absolution that had just been announced.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church