In today’s Gospel for Pentecost Sunday, the Lord confers his Apostle’s with his power to forgive sins.
“The doors were locked for fear of the Jews.”
When Jesus appears to the Apostles, breathes on them and fills them with the Holy Spirit, he drives their fear away and fills them with peace. Peace in the soul is a sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. If there is an obstacle to peace in our life, it is often because there may be some obstacle to forgiveness.
Reconciliation is the sacrament of restoring Christ’s peace to the soul. When Jesus says, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained,” he institutes the sacrament of reconciliation. Christ’s mandate to extend the Gospel is fulfilled when we practice to this sacrament, because through this sacrament, we return to the house of the Father.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
How do we know that we are filled with the Holy Spirit? When we desire forgiveness and become free to forgive others, and finally, when our souls are filled with peace.
This is why Jesus taught to forgive and not just to ask for forgiveness. Both are important. When we forgive others and ask for forgiveness, Jesus generously grants us his peace.