Fr Joe has written this short reflection on the Gospel passage for Pentecost Sunday.
Jesus willed that the Church continue his work of healing, mercy and salvation. In our Gospel for Pentecost today, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation/Confession) on the evening of Easter Sunday.
Since the new life of grace received in Baptism does not abolish our inclination to sin (concupiscence), Jesus gave the Apostles this Sacrament to reconcile us to God because when we sin, we alienate and separate ourselves from God and from the body of Christ, the Church (each other).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1444) says “in imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins, the Lord gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church”.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is Jesus’s gift to the Church to ensure the forgiveness he generously extends and effectuates through his priests “Receive the Holy Spirit, any sin you forgive is forgiven and any sin you retain is retained”
The word absolution means to release or untie. When we sin, we tie, we unite, we bind ourselves to satan. We may not have chosen satan per se, but that is what happens when we sin, that is the effect of sin, we choose him and he has legal rights over us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation frees us from the slavery that is sin and unbinds us, so that we can live once again in freedom, as the children of God.
St Faustina (Divine Mercy in My Soul)
“Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.”