Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Today we hear that the apostles, imprisoned and bound by fear, have
locked themselves into the upper room, and that "Jesus came and stood before
them...Then he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If
you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound,
they are held bound.' "
In this Easter season, we celebrate the Divine gift of the third person
of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as an outpouring of the Risen
Christ. Today the Church shares in the Resurrection and the life of Christ
by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What does this gift mean to the Church?
The peace of Christ, always ours with the forgiveness of our sins.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us what the Church has
always believed when we say in the Creed: "I believe in the forgiveness
of sins," our gift for salvation in the Holy Spirit. The Creed links "the
forgiveness of sins" with its profession of faith in the Holy Spirit, for
the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the power to forgive sins when
he gave them the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins:
it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.
By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of
the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the
sacrament of Penance. "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments
are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal
giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us
the grace of justification." (CCC 984-987)
If you would be preserved "from all anxiety", as we pray in the Mass,
regularly practice the Sacrament of Confession. The Holy Spirit will give
you the peace of confidence in Christ's saving passion and Resurrection.
I look forward to meeting you here again next week, as, together, we
"meet Christ in the liturgy"
Used with the permission of Fr. Cusick from his website.