Encounter with God's Mercy

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God forgives the humble and contrite of heart.

Sin consists of thought, word, action or non-action which is out of harmony with the natural law, God's commandments or the love of God, self and neighbor. Ultimately all sin is an offense against God's love which caused Christ's death on the Cross. Every sin is ultimately against God who created creatures to participate in his life with an everlasting destiny, and so, whatever we do to the least human being we do it to God.

Humility means to realize that only God is good; to realize our dependence on God and his Church for forgiveness since the Church is the realization of Christ's abiding presence in this world. Those who say, I will not confess to a priest because he is only a man do not see that it is Christ who forgives through the priest.

Contrition means sorrow for sin because we have rebelled against God who is infinitely good and deserving of all our love. It does not necessarily imply feeling of sorrow but rather an awareness of the wrong we have done and a resolution not to sin again. We may be very aware that in our human frailties we may fall again and again but as long as we don't give up the struggle and pray for mercy we are staying on the right path. One day Peter asked Christ how many times he should forgive. Jesus answered, 70X7 times which means without limit. If this is demanded of man, must this also be true of God?

Christ forgives through his Church

Man encountered God's Mercy in Christ when he walked upon the earth forgiving men's sins. Through Christ's death on the Cross and his resurrection, God in Christ, overcame sin and death once and for all times.

But, how could each generation encounter Christ's merciful forgiveness in a concrete, visible and hearable way?On Easter evening, Christ appeared among his apostles said to them: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you. ...Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound." (Jn 20:21-23) And so man encounters the mercy of God through the power of the Church to forgive.

"God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit." Amen.