You have heard the phrase, “Hindsight is 20/20”. It means that when you look back on something you see it perfectly, since having 20/20 vision is perfect vision.
This perfect vision occurred on the night of Jesus‟ Resurrection. Jesus appeared to the faithful Apostles in the upper room where they had celebrated the Last Supper on Holy Thursday.
Today‟s Gospel of St. John includes chapter twenty, verse twenty, John 20, 20, where we read, “When he had said this, [„Peace be with you‟] he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” The Risen Lord makes clear to them what he told them prior to his crucifixion, that he will rise again.
Then Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” See Jn. 20:19-23
It is perfectly clear that Christ Jesus gave to the Apostles the Holy Spirit to go and forgive the sins of those who con-fess their sins to them. And to hold them bound if they are not truly sorry. On the night of his Resurrection, which is proof of his Divine Nature, Christ gave to his Catholic Church the gift of the Sacrament of Confession.
When people ask, “Why do Catholics go to confession?” You can tell them, “Jesus Christ gave his Catholic Church the Sacrament of Confession on the night he rose from the dead. You can read about it in the Gospel of St. John starting at chapter 20, verse 20. The Sacrament of Confession when honestly celebrated cleanses the soul of all guilt so that the penitent will have clearer spiritual vision and can receive Jesus in the Eucharist, the pledge of Eternal Life.”
Some people might say that they go straight to God to ask forgiveness for their sins, and they believe that is sufficient. We respond that we also should go straight to God after sinning by striving to make a perfect act of contrition (God, I am sorry for offending you and your love, please forgive me and please give me the grace to avoid sinning). However, since we read in the Gospel of St. John, twenty-twenty, that the Risen Christ appeared to the Apostles and gave them the Holy Spirit to forgive sins, we thus go to celebrate that gift of assured forgiveness and absolution of sins to honor Jesus‟ revelation. The priest then helps us with our penance by his prayers and sacrifices.
Where is the Sacrament of Confession found in the Bible? Think of twenty-twenty vision, the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verse 20. Knowing this Bible verse helps us to defend and promote the fullness of God‟s mercy in Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church.
Someone might ask, “How can anyone else but Catholics be saved?” The answer is that God has revealed through his Catholic Church that God binds himself to the Sacraments – sure channels of God‟s divine grace – but that God is not bound by the Sacraments. Assured salvation comes through the Sacraments, the ordinary means of salvation. Yet, there are extraordinary ways that a person can be saved. This Catholic belief has been reinforced by the apparitions of Jesus Christ to St. Maria Faustina.
Jesus appeared to St. Maria Faustina, a Polish religious sister, in the year 1931 and gave her private revelations. Private revelation is deemed authentic by the Pope and Bishops when it rein-forces Catholic doctrine, and these messages to St. Faustina have been deemed as worthy of belief.
Jesus spoke to her about the prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which is prayed on the Rosary. He asked her to have a painting of what she saw in this apparition. He attached promises to this image and the prayers of the chaplet which takes about 7 minutes to pray. Red pamphlets of the “Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet” can be found near the main entrance of each of our churches.
One of the promises that Jesus attached to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is that when any baptized person prays it for anyone who is dying, Jesus will come to that person to offer the grace of final repentance – the promise of salvation.
We hope that they will receive that extraordinary grace, but we should still pray for them after their death since most everyone will have to pass through purgatory. As Jesus says: “You must be made perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt. 5:48.
As mentioned in our Easter Sunday bulletin and announcements, there is a special plenary indulgence attached to making a good confession (confessing the number and kind of mortal sins that have not been confessed) on Divine Mercy Sunday. There will be normal confession times this weekend, but also a special time of Adoration and Confession at St. Columbkill from 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., April 24.
Peace in the Risen Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe