If You Forgive Anyone’s Sin, They Are Forgiven

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PENTECOST SUNDAY
(Red) Cycle A/ Year I (June 4, 2017)
Acts 2:1-11/1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13/Jn 20:19-23

No human being is perfect. All of us commit the same and different kinds of sins in one way or another. Some commit grievous and mortal sins while many commit minor and venial sins. Still, venial they may be, when accumulated, become grave sin that can condemn one to eternal damnation.

When one commits mortal sins such as abortion, contraception, fornication, adultery, corruption, etc., one is hunted by his/her conscience. S/he then cannot live in peace and needs forgiveness. Others who commit venial sins in their daily lives such as lying, judging others, thinking ill of others, calumniating others, having impure thoughts, masturbating, lacking of generosity, lacking of consideration, etc., usually think that they do not commit sins. They have been accustomed to committing such kinds of sins that their consciences have become callous and that they do not anymore feel the attack of their remorse. If ever they still feel the guilt because of these sins, they do not think that they need to be forgiven because they think that what they do is an ordinary thing and not a sin.

We should be honest to ourselves that when we feel guilt, we know that we have committed a sin and we need forgiveness. If ever we do not feel guilty of the sin that we commit, we must be convinced that still we need forgiveness because we know that what we have done is not correct. Since we need forgiveness, we have to confess our sins.

Many of us think that confessing our sins directly to God is enough for us to be forgiven. For this reason, there are very few people who flock to the confessional box to ask forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession administered by a priest. We must bear in mind that even though direct confession to God is fundamental for the forgiveness of our sins, still confession to a priest is a must to assure the genuineness of our repentance and the seriousness of our commitment to renew our lives based on the teachings of Jesus and of His Catholic Church.

In the Gospel, Jesus says to His Apostles: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained” (John 20:23). With these words, Jesus commissions His Apostles, the bishops, who are the successors to the apostles, and the priests, who are the co-workers of the bishops, to officially bestow the divine forgiveness to those who humble themselves, asking for the forgiveness of their sins through the Sacrament of Confession. While the Protestants only value the direct confession, we, Catholic believe in the Sacrament of Confession instituted by Christ for the forgiveness of sins. We then value the direct confession in as much as it culminates in the confession to a priest through what we call the Sacrament of Confession.

Indeed, no human is perfect and all of us are sinners. We always need to be forgiven of our sins. Thanks to Jesus, He has given us the Sacrament of Confession through which we are assured that we are forgiven of our sinfulness. Let us then humble ourselves to Jesus by going to Him and asking forgiveness of our sins through His representatives, the Catholic Priests, in order for us to attain forgiveness and internal peace and joy.