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Sunday Readings for June 12, 2011 (PentecostA)
By Father Cusick
Today we hear that the apostles, imprisoned and bound by fear, have locked themselves into the upper room, and that "Jesus came and stood before them...Then he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.' "
Today, in the Solemnity of Pentecost, we celebrate the Divine gift of the third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit. What does this gift mean to the Church? The peace of Christ, always ours with the forgiveness of our sins. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches us what the Church has always believed when we say in the Creed: "I believe in the forgiveness of sins," our gift for salvation in the Holy Spirit. The Creed links "the forgiveness of sins" with its profession of faith in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit. By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance. In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification. (CCC 984-987)
If you would be preserved "from all anxiety", as we pray in the Mass, regularly practice the Sacrament of Confession. The Holy Spirit will give you the peace of confidence in Christ's saving passion and Resurrection.