Good News A25
"Receive the holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."
After Jesus was crucified and buried, and when the apostles discovered that he was no longer in the tomb, they were frightened that the Jews would come and get them and kill them, too. So they huddled together in the room where they had gathered with Jesus on Holy Thursday when he gave them the Holy Eucharist by sharing bread and wine with them. They locked the doors. They put coverings over all the windows. You can imagine their surprise when Jesus appeared right in the middle of them. He said, “Peace be with you.” He said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive a person of his sins, they are forgiven. If you don’t forgive a person for his sins, they will not be forgiven.
A wonderful spirit of peace fills your mind and body when you ask someone to forgive you, and they do. When you hurt your friend’s feelings and you say to them, “Please forgive me. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” When they say, “Sure. I forgive you.” A big smile grows inside you and then it shows up on your face.
When you do something wrong, God wants you to admit it. He wants you to take responsibility for your actions. He wants you to ask him for forgiveness. He wants you to take steps not to do the same thing again. Reconciliation or confession is a very healing sacrament that gives you forgiveness for your sins and gives you a chance to do penance for them.
Penance is when you do something to make up for your wrongdoing. For instance, if you and your brother had a fight, and you gave him a black eye, your penance might be to bring him ice to put on it. It might be do sit and play a game with him an hour each day for a whole week. Your parents may also choose to send you to your room, make you wash dishes, or do a chore as your punishment for hurting your brother. If you made fun of a person who didn’t wear the latest style shoes but wore holy sneakers, then your penance might be to earn money, and give it to the poor.
When God forgives you, it gives you a chance to forgive yourself. This makes it easier for you to improve your behavior because you have a better outlook on yourself. Jesus died on the cross so your sins could be forgiven and you could join him in heaven. Forgiveness is divine. It is a gift from God. Be sure when someone asks you to forgive them, that you give them the same honor and respect that God gives you. Search your heart for forgiveness. Forgive others, as Jesus forgives you. When you find it difficult to forgive someone, say the Our Father. When it says, “forgive us our trespasses.” It means forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” It is good to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
Say the “Our Father” and ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you a little and those who have hurt you a lot. Forgiveness adds another star to the sky and another jewel to the crown God is preparing for you in heaven.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
Copyright ©2002, 2004 Joan Y. Edwards