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The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity
excerpt from
COMMON PRAYER: A Commentary on the Prayer Book Lectionary
Volume 5: Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity to Twenty Sixth Sunday after Trinity 
St. Peter Publications Inc. Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
O Lord, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
We begin this Collect by asking God to “absolve” his people from their offences. To absolve a man is to “pronounce” his sins forgiven. God alone can forgive sins, but a priest is given authority to absolve a person, to pronounce God’s forgiveness to someone who has confessed his sins to God. Whenever a priest gives absolution, it is always understood to be conditional on the repentance and faith of the person upon whom the absolution is pronounced. In the Collect today, as the season of growth in holiness is coming to an end, we pray that God himself will absolve his people, or assure us that we are forgiven—in our conscience; in our heart of hearts; or by our meditation upon God’s Holy Scriptures (for example, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matt. 9. 2); or, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1. 7)). 
...that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins...
The idea of sin as binding or crippling us is also found in an occasional prayer (p. 58, Book of Common Prayer), which says: “...and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins...” The meaning of this thought is ably expressed by E.M. Goulburn: 
It is as if a prisoner should say to the court, ‘Pray, acquit me, that I may be released and walk abroad at liberty once more.’ So the culprit at the heavenly tribunal prays, ‘Speak pardon and peace to my conscience, O Judge of all the earth, that I may be set at liberty to serve thee once more, to walk before thee in the way of thy commandments.’ The absolution must come first, before there is, and that there may be, this service, this walking. A man whose hands and feet are clogged with a sense of unforgiven sin can do nothing in the way of walking, or working, or free service. He must first have the load lifted off his conscience, and then he will be free and able to walk and work, and will do so in the light of God’s countenance. So the petition amounts to this—’Speak peace to the consciences of thy people, that the impediments to a holy life may be removed.’ 
                                                                              (Goulburn, p. 184, The Collects of the Day)
...which by our frailty we have committed... 

These words remind us of the continual growth and progress which is required in the Christian life. The considerable length of the Trinity season provides us with an opportunity for such progress and growth in holiness. Our absolution from the guilt of sin is immediate if our faith and repentance be sincere; but our deliverance from the power of sin is gradual because of the frailty of our human nature. Speaking about the flesh which “lusteth always contrary to the Spirit”, Article of Religion IX (p. 702, Book of Common Prayer) says that “this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated.” In other words, even after we are baptized and have taken advantage of God’s sacraments in his Church and regularly received his forgiveness, our human nature wifl always cause us to sin again. We pray today that, during this Trinity Season, we have been, and will by the grace of God continue to be, “strengthened with all might according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.”