Pentecost Sunday Cycle C

The Authority to Forgive Sins

Questions arise around the word “Forgiveness” such as: What is forgiveness? Who needs forgiveness? And who needs to forgive other(s)? Or who should forgive other(s)?

As children of Adam and Eve, we are all inherited the original sin that through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are washed away our original sin. However, it does not mean that after Baptism we never sin against the Lord and one another. Therefore, forgiveness is a need of forgiveness when we hurt God or one another somehow and someway.

Honest ourselves, we all hurt God and one another in our lives. Just as Jesus himself, born as a Jew under the Jewish laws, forgave the sins of a prostitute, the tax collector, and others because they violated God’s laws and the Jewish laws, so we are too, more or less, that we violate God’s laws, human laws, and society’s laws either consciously or unconsciously. Jewish laws, the laws of Moses, human laws, or society’s laws are written laws, and God’s laws are not only the letters of the written laws, but much higher than these are the spirit of the laws. In the spirit of the laws, Jesus condensed all the laws, written laws, into two great important laws that are to love God and to love one another.

The written laws, for example, how many of us is conscious to keep the right speed of 35 mph on the street with the speed limit of 35 mph especially when we are in hurry? How often have we passed over the speed limit of 60 mph on high way when we might not be even in hurry? How often do we turn to the people around us to talk to them instead of focusing on reading a book or busy with the IPhone and ignore the presence of others around us? How well do we keep silent when we enter the Church not talking and whispering while others are praying or meditating in silence? How have we helped financially to our Church when we hesitate to be generous with our contribution and spend extravagant on trips and leisure or on material possessions?

Thanks to God that he allows us to reconcile with God and with one another through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He gave the authority to forgive sins to his disciples and their successors when he said to his disciples reported in today’s Gospel saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Let’s us remain strong in the Lord Jesus Christ, faithful in his teaching, and have courage to live his Word by reconciling with God and with one another through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Not that Jesus’ disciples have the power to forgive sins, they also have power to commit sins as well. Pope Francis, when he’s asked how often he goes to confession, his response reported by Cindy Wooden from Catholic News Service saying that “he goes to confession every two weeks, knowing that God never tires of forgiving those who repent, but also knowing that having a priest say "I absolve you" reinforces belief in God's mercy.” Let’s us remember God’s mercy endures forever and come often to receive the forgiveness of sins. Decision is yours.


Weekend Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Nguyen

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