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CHRIST CAME INTO THE WORLD FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 6th Week of Easter, May 19, 2012
Acts 18:23-28, Ps. 46, John 16:23-28


"Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).


What should we ask for? Christ says, "If you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name" (John 16:23). First of all, it would be good to ask for something that is in accordance with his will if we want to receive it, for St. John says, "This is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us" (1 John 5:14). What, then, is in accordance with his will and is worthy of asking for? Probably many things, but there is one thing that is very important to us, and that we know is in accordance with his will-the forgiveness of our sins. Nothing depresses us more than the sense of guilt for having sinned, even in small things; and nothing gives us more joy than being forgiven for our sins through the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross through our faith in him.


For this reason Christ came into the world-for the forgiveness of our sins-to free us from them through his death on the cross, where he served our sentence for us for our sins. Nothing is more certain in the Scriptures than this: "That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15).


When he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the angel told Joseph that Mary "will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). He is "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Jesus said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matt. 9:13). At the Last Supper he said, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt. 26:28). St. Paul says, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). And the risen Christ said, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations" (Luke 24:46-47).


St. John says, "He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). And "You know that he appeared to take away sins" (1 John 3:5). And God "sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). In his first sermon on the day of Pentecost St. Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38). And to Cornelius St. Peter said, "To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:43). St. Paul said, "Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you" (Acts 13:38). The Lord appeared to Saul (St. Paul) at his conversion and told him that he would be sent to the Gentiles, "To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:18).


Let us therefore ask for the forgiveness of our sins that we might have peace with God and have his love and light in our heart; and let us use the means he has given us for this purpose, the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist.

 

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