Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. ~ St. John Chrysostom
I remember a priest speaking, many years ago, about the need to pick ourselves up after we have fallen in sin. He said he was convinced that God did not count the number of times that we had fallen when He judged us at the end of our lives.
He was convinced that God counted the number of times that we got back up again and if the number of times we got up was one more than the number of times that we had fallen, we would have it made.
I think there is a lot of truth to that and St. John Chrysostom would seem to agree as well. “Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.” The reality is that Jesus did not come to condemn us but to save us.
Why would He have gone through the agony of His life and death if He was going to let us all go to eternal condemnation? No. He did all that He did so that we could live forever with Him. This is what we celebrate on this octave day of Easter, which St. Pope John Paul II declared as Divine Mercy Sunday in the year 2000.
Today’s gospel recounts one of the resurrection accounts when Jesus breathed on the Apostles and bestowed upon them the authority to forgive sins. God is so merciful that He wants us to be able to find forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Upon that we can depend.
So many people stay away from confession. Yet, it is in that sacrament that we meet the loving mercy of God. Not only do we find forgiveness, we also receive grace. What a “bargain”. When we could go somewhere and receive grace to help us face our world, we should jump at the chance rather than keep away from it.
God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness are ours if we ask for it. As we continue our Easter celebration, let us do all that we can to live as an Easter people, a people immersed in the reality of God in this world and in the hope of the world yet to come.
FAITH ACTION: God freely forgives our failings if we ask Him to do so. Are we just as free in forgiving others? If there is anyone on your “list” whom you have not forgiven, try to do so today.