The community of believers was of one heart and mind…
How wonderful this must have been – for the early Church to be of one heart and mind! I see the Church so divided right now. I see it undergoing such persecution from the outside and from within as well. I long for the day when Christ sets things aright – when the Church is restored and we are all of one heart and mind once again.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
Many in our world today view Catholicism- or even religion in general – as oppressive – full of impossible rules and driven by guilt. This could not be further from the truth. God loves His children completely. Because He made us, He knows what will make us happy and fulfilled. He doesn’t make rules to burden us, but to set us free! True freedom is what is found in choosing what is right – choosing God’s way. He (Jesus) is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE! (John 14:6) Only by choosing Him who has conquered the world can we be truly free and at peace.
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.”
Ahh! This is where Jesus effectively gave the apostles (his priests) the authority to forgive sins on His behalf. For my sola scriptura friends, I really don’t know how else this verse could be interpreted. It’s the same with the “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you…” passage. (John 6:53) It seems very clear to me – no hidden meaning whatsoever.
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
That’s you and me, friends! He just called us blessed! Hooray!
This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Priests in all parishes will be speaking of God’s great Mercy and forgiveness. Key to the teaching of Divine Mercy is that there is no sin too great for God’s mercy – nothing too big or too awful to be forgiven. All we need to do is to come to the Lord with a repentant heart. There are some really special things that are attached to the celebration of this great feast – if you’d like to read more, check out this link.