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3-Point Mass prep: Jesus breathes on us

confession in a green field

Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 05/26/23

The sacrament of confession is like a new creation.

The Gospel for this Sunday is John 20:19-23

1. A word of introduction

On Pentecost Sunday, a Gospel passage is read that brings hope to us all. It’s a beautiful passage where Jesus established the sacrament that frees us from sin.

2. Keywords

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Jesus established the Sacrament of Reconciliation with those words. Still practiced today, it is available to us all.

Take note of two phrases that demonstrate the profound meaning conveyed in the original language.

Jesus “breathed on them.” This is a symbolic reference to the description of the creation of man, “the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The sacrament of confession is like a new creation.

In the Gospel, the term “retaining of sins” is conveyed through the word “krateo.” It literally means “holding power over someone,” and refers to detention in prison, or keeping in a relationship of dependence. Thus the sacrament of reconciliation gives freedom. It frees us from dependence on evil and the prison of sin.

3. Today

Saint Teresa of Calcutta used to say: “On our road to complete happiness one thing is absolutely necessary: confession. Confession is an act of humility, a sacrament of love and forgiveness in which I let Jesus free me from all things that divide and destroy. […] Remember that God is the merciful Father of all. We are His children and He will always forgive, free, and heal us if we only turn to Him.”

Each of us can benefit from this miracle of Divine Mercy.

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