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His Divine Mercy is our saving grace.

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 Sunday 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,there 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, and through his wounds he still ministers to them and all the faithful – the gift of forgiveness.

Jesus said to them again, “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.” (Jn.20:21-23)

Clearly Jesus gave to the Apostles the Holy Spirit to go and forgive the sins of those who confess their sins to them. And to hold them bound if they are not truly sorry. On the night of his Resurrection Jesus gave to his Catholic Church the gift of the Sacrament of Confession.

When people ask, “Why go to confession?” Tell them, “Jesus 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, like 20/20 vision. Confession cleanses the soul so that a person can be assuredly restored to God’s saving grace lost by mortal sin and receive spiritual vision so that they can receive Jesus in the Eucharist worthily.”

We believe that Jesus’ rising from the dead was proof that he is truly God and man. Thus, celebrating Christ’s Sacrament of Confession assures us forgiveness of sins for those who, after making a thorough examination of con-science to the best of their ability, confess the kind and number of their mortal sins to the priest with sorrow. Also, they must disdain their sins, have a firm intention to do their penance and avoid sinning again.

By making a good confession, that is, not holding back from confessing any serious sins committed, all the person’s sins are absolved, even forgotten sins. Yet, sin has disor-dered the soul and so the person must do penance either here or in purgatory, since the damage the sin has caused must be repaired; divine justice and the healing of the soul and relationships are a part of God’s saving plan.

Remember Zaccheus, the wealthy but cheating tax collector who climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. Jesus called him down from the tree to tell him that he was com-ing to his home. Zaccheus realized this was an opportunity to be forgiven and said, “Lord, if I have cheated anyone, I will pay them back four-fold, and I will give half of my prop-erty to the poor.” Zaccheus knew that out of justice and mercy he needed to repair the damage his sins had caused by doing penance. This is what divine mercy looks like. With God’s sanctifying grace within our soul, we want to share God’s true mercy and justice with everyone, by follow-ing Jesus Christ more closely.

Jesus continues to call his people to share mercy. In a special way he appeared to St. Maria Faustina, a Polish religious sister in the year 1935 to give her a private revelation. He spoke to her about his ocean of divine mercy, and the prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which is prayed on the Rosary that taps into that ocean of divine mercy. Jesus attached promises to this prayer which takes about 7 minutes to pray.

One of the promises that Jesus attached to this prayer is that when any baptized person prays it for anyone who is dying, Jesus will come to that dying person to offer the final grace of perfect contrition – the promise of salvation.

We hope that they 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)

I have experienced this gift of mercy in many powerful ways while praying for those on their death bed. One time I rushed to the local nursing home to anoint someone, for she had just survived a stroke and they thought it might happen again. I prayed for her while driving to her location. That has become a good habit as I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as soon as someone calls for me to anoint someone.

When I arrived, she immediately asked me to hear her confession. Afterward, she wept for the mercy God had shown her because she had been holding on to some serious sins and was glad to be assuredly absolved from them by confessing them to a priest. She was given a second chance at life and Jesus and his Church were there for her.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Let us praise our Lord Jesus Christ for his clear revelation of his assured saving grace in the Sacrament of Confession, drawn up before our eyes in the Gospel of John 20:20-23. Let us also praise God for working outside the normal course of things to bring wayward Christians and others to the path of salvation with the help of faithful Catholics who practice the spiritual works of mercy, especially praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the living, the dying and the deceased.


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