Jesus’ first words to His apostles in today’s Gospel are a noteworthy combination. He first says: “Peace be with you,” then, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” and “Receive the Holy Spirit,” and finally, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Christ wishes us first and foremost to have peace. He then gives us a mission to spread that peace. He equips us for this mission with the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and He charges us with His mission of mercy. Peace, mission, the Spirit, and Mercy all go hand-in-hand.
I especially enjoy my role in the Church’s mission of mercy as a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I love to hear the words “I absolve you from your sins,” even as I am the one saying them. God’s mercy is boundless and readily available! Pray for more priests and for more of our priest to be good confessors.
If you have the chance, celebrate this Sacrament of mercy this weekend in honor of the Solemnity of God’s Divine Mercy. Also, meditate on your own role in God’s plan of mercy. Is there a way in which you can extend God’s peace and mercy to others this week? Is there a way you can extend forgiveness to another or show unmerited kindness in a new way? Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your peace and to help you to bring peace to others. This celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday during the Jubilee Year of Mercy is a great opportunity to make mercy more visible in our world. Peace in Christ,