Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

22 April 2012

Only God Forgives Sin

    Only God forgives sins.  Since he is the Son of God, Jesus
says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive
sins" and exercises this divine power:  "Your sins are forgiven."
Further, by virtue of his divine authority he give this power to men
to exercise in his name.

    Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole
Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and
reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood.  But he
entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic
ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation."  The
apostle is sent out "on behalf of Christ" with "God making his appeal"
through him and pleading: "Be reconciled to God."

    Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members
of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into
grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded
ecclesial communion.  It is to them that the sacrament of Penance
offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of  justification.
The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second
plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace."

                        -- Catechism of the Catholic Church
                            paragraphs 1441, 1442, 1446

        "Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand
        how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our
        salvation, it has brought to the whole world the grace
        of repentance."
                    -- St. Clement of Rome, d. 101 A.D.

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