The Gospels provide numerous examples of Christ’s mission to forgive sins. When a paralytic was lowered through the roof of a house and placed as his feet, Christ first forgave the man’s sins and then cured his affliction (cf. Lk 5:17-26). When a sinful woman knelt as his feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee, Jesus forgave her sins because she had “loved much” (cf. Lk 7:36-50). Christ’s parable of the prodigal son illustrates the sublime meaning of his earthly ministry, which is to forgive sins, reconcile people to God, and lead us to true happiness (cf. Lk 15:11-32).
Only God can forgive our sins. But Jesus willed that the Church should be his instrument of forgiveness on earth. On Easter night the Risen Christ imparted to his Apostles his own power to forgive sins. He breathed on them, imparting the promised Holy Spirit, and said, “Peace be with you.” Jesus was actually filling them with peace that is rooted in friendship with God. But he did more. He shared with them his own merciful mission. He breathed on them a second time and said,
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you…. Received the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:21-23)
The Church continues this ministry through the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. If it has been a while since your last confession, remember, “Do not fear” (Is 41:10). The priest will help guide you. And feel free to takes this document with you: How to Go to Confession
Before and after the 12:00 PM Mass
St. Mary’s Basilica
231 North 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004