Lent Day 3 – Freedom from Sin

by Bishop Robert Barron

The Church speaks the deepest truth about sin. It refuses to explain it away or make excuses for it or call it by another name. This is one reason for the Church’s deep unpopularity throughout the ages.

Do you remember that terrible story from the fall of 2006 in which a mad man made his way into an Amish school house in Pennsylvania and killed, in cold blood, five little girls and then himself? It would be hard to imagine a more heinous crime.

Yet, in the immediate wake of that terrible event, the families of the slain children went to visit the family of the man who had killed their little girls—and they pronounced their forgiveness of him. Their wounds, psychological and emotional, must have been as evident as the physical wounds on their kids.

And yet, they pronounced forgiveness. Mind you, it was not so much their own peace that they were offering; it was Christ’s peace, the peace beyond all understanding. But they were vehicles of it, the means by which it rushed into the world.

Can I suggest a reading of Christ’s words to the disciples that might be a tad surprising? “If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound” (John 20:23). This does indeed have a juridical sense; Christ is indeed commissioning his priests to be the instruments of sacramental forgiveness.

But I think that there is a broader sense here as well, a sense in which these words apply to all Christians, priests and laity alike. Jesus is giving his Church the enormous privilege and responsibility of bearing the divine forgiveness to a fallen world.

And see how the words of the Lord apply precisely: if you (my followers) forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven; and if you don’t, they are still held bound by them.

The Church’s great mission is the pronouncement of the forgiveness of sins, the letting-free of a sin-bound world.

Have you accepted that mission?


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  • Anton D

    – “. . . they pronounced forgiveness.
    – Mind you, it was not so much their own peace that they were offering;
    – it was Christ’s peace, the peace beyond all understanding.
    – . . . they were vehicles of it, the means by which it rushed into the world.”

    • Elizabeth

      Corrie Ten Boom, author of the Hiding Place, was in a concentration camp because her family had hid Jews in their home. When the prisoners were released, so was Corrie. She was on a speaking engagement in the ’70’s in the USA. What was so special and related to today is this: Corrie told us an incident she had after one of speaking engagements. A man came up to her, he was a prison guard when she was in the concentration camp, and he asked her for forgiveness. She tole us how difficult it was for her. Then she placed a nurses opaque glove on her one hand leaving the fingers portion dangling. Then her statement , I couldn’t forgive but Jesus could. She then continued to place her fingers into the glove.

      • Anton D

        Interesting incident.

        Likewise, it is easier for me to talk / think about forgiveness and peace, but the real test is when I am faced with injustice and it is my turn to forgive. But praying to God about it does help me, though sometimes not as soon as it should be. I guess that’s a fact about us.

        Similarly others may be struggling the same way when its their turn to forgive me, so I guess have to be patient with them.

  • Beth

    I never thought of this passage this way. In reflecting on it though, it seems natural to accept. I know that when someone forgives me, there seems to be a weight lifted from me. Not the same “feeling” as after Confession, but a sense of release of a burden. In some way forgiving others helps restore our own “wholeness”

  • William John Meegan

    I was somewhat perplexed by Bishop Robert Barron equating the violation of man-made laws to the laws of God so I went to John 20: 23; to see what he was talking about and sure enough Bishop Barron took this bible passage out of context with what Jesus Christ was talking about.

    Man-made laws: i.e. Man-made Control Systems such as morality, ethics, penal and civil laws and societal mores have nothing whatsoever to do with the laws of God for if they did would our priests, politicians, corporate executives, police, and other people in business and government power deliberately violate every one of these rules and regulations as if they were playing on a competitive board game? These rich and powerful people continuously play this game violating these man-made rules and regulations endlessly as if they know that there is a two-tier judicial system which protect them against the legal system: i.e. one for the poor and downtrodden and one for the rich and powerful. God’s laws are not bound by the rich and powerful; whereby, God’s laws, in their eyes, would be turn into a two-tier spiritual system.

    Sin denotes false beliefs and every priests and theologian knows this. How you believe in God is the basis of what sin is all about.

    Read John 20:23, but read the verses before and after this verse: i.e. John 20:19-29; and get a fuller understanding of what Jesus was talking about. Jesus appeared to his disciples showing them his wounds and then he makes the statement about sins being remitted or not remitted right in the middle of this vignette; because, after Jesus’ remarks about sin Thomas was doubtful about what the other disciples told him.

    Notice that when Jesus was first talking to the disciple, apart from Thomas, he breathed upon them the Holy Spirit. Thomas did not have this spiritual benefit to augment what the other disciples were telling him.

    Thomas went another eight days without his sin (false belief) being remitted until Jesus came to him and offer Thomas the privilege of putting his fingers into the wounds. Thomas’ sins were bound to him; because, the other disciples could not convince him otherwise. Yes, the disciples convince many and in that way remitted their previous belief systems and this is why Jesus said “blessed are those that have not seen and believed”.

    I don’t think that Bishop Robert Barron is being deliberately disingenuous it is that he is not actually fully thinking out clearly what he is trying to convey. For
    example unless you are gifted by the Holy Spirit you do not have the spiritual and/or mental acuity to forgive sins (I am not here talking about man-made
    control systems); though, people can compassionately tell criminals they are forgiven as they are sent off to prison for the rest of their lives. Do you think those Amish families would have forgiven that murderer if the legal system was not going to punish him? When God forgives sins there is no punishment in the aftermath all punishment was experience prior to God forgiving the sin. Think of how Thomas must have suffered prior to Christ appearing to him.

    You can say that today as in every day I am a Doubting Thomas and until I went to my bible and read John 20:23; and in further reading John 20:19-29; I didn’t understood what Bishop Robert Barron was trying to convey; however, unlike Bishop Barron I do not equate the laws of God with the laws of man. Know that God’s laws are not control systems as are MAN-MADE CONTROL SYSTEMS.

  • Jack Holt

    And if you hold them bound are you not also bound? You are the one holding them are you not?

    • thefreechannel

      Jack, I have thought about it as well, check my answer

  • CAK

    I’ve been given two major burdens over the past 13 months where my forgiveness of others has been a huge struggle. One happened Jan. 2015 and I’ve worked thru how to forgive for a year, which has helped tremendously with the latest situation, which happened 3 weeks ago. I think God was preparing me for these events for years, because without a strong faith, I could have crumbled under their weight.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    I have found forgiving someone is the greatest joy in my life. However, I find to make that joy complete one must pray to God for their forgiveness. Many times forgiving someone, has resulted in a good friendship for me.

  • thefreechannel

    There is the natural complement of this teaching in Matthew 7:1-3. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2″For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3″Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?…” That’s why, at the personal level I decided to entrust my enemies to God, when I see it is beyond my personal power to make peace with them. I try first to make peace, then to walk away in peace, even if I must do self-sacrifice, and leave the matter between that soul and God the Father and Creator of all souls.There is a point in any dispute that we must stop and pray. Pray, and entrust the situation and/or enemy into God’s Hands. What I witnessed in my life is that God always – ALWAYS – settles matters far better than I could, and ALWAYS makes it up to me, where I apparently had to step back, give up and let go, not to hurt people around me or act in any other sinful way to get what I wanted. He makes it up to us in a far more generous and richer way than we could have done by our own strength, if we had decided to go into direct dispute. It is not that I cross my arms and do nothing. I suffer, and pay the price or letting go. I must work hard to compensate for the loss and wound, sometimes for years. But in the end, it is richly compensated, and I don’t have to carry the shame and/or guilt of looking back and seeing that I in the past I had to dispute something in an aggressive way, and had to hurt people to get of I wanted. So yes, the Church is the repository and defender of the truth that sin exists, and should go on proclaiming it to the four ends of the world, so that ALL OF US sinners might finally give up taking matters in our own hands. If we all entrusted matters to God’s Justice and Mercy, and went on living peacefully and ethically, there would be less space for destruction at the physical level of reality.

    • Jack Holt

      You have a point. I was thinking about Mark 11:25 but there is also Matthew 5:44 which is also in line with your thinking. Pray for your enemies. Something I haven’t heard much from the alter. We have many people who are choosing us; Christian, Catholic, U.S., Western, etc., as their enemy. We pray for strength, for our troops, for the martyrs; all well and good. But I’m not hearing us pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use and persecute us. But maybe that’s just me.

      • thefreechannel

        Yes, Jack. There is no on-size fits-all in human situations. For example, when a father fights back the rapist of his 9-year-old daughter. We cannot stop fighting back child pornography, human traffic and other crimes and social injustices. Unfortunately, due to human fallen nature, society cannot yet completely avoid the apparatus of repression and control of law and government, because there are individuals out there set up to commit crime, and a lot of heinous crimes. So to defend peaceful civilians against individuals who are set up to commit crime and injustice, society is obliged to fight back with the help of laws, police and army. However, at the personal level, there is moral and ethical space to choose peaceful ways and to avoid an eye for an eye in many occasions.

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          When we pray for our enemies we do not pray that they have success in their sins but that God give them the grace to repent. There are stories of the Christian Martyrs praying for their executioners as they are being killed. It is said that some of those executioners have been converted to Christ I know people who are praying outside planned parenthood. Who are praying for the workers in those clinics. Many abortion workers have left the clinics and become avid pro-life workers. That is what it means to forgive your enemies.

          • thefreechannel

            Well said!

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            Indeed Abby Johnson has started a ministry helping ex-abortion works find forgiveness.

  • Corine Richenelle

    This is an important word in a Christian`s life, forgiveness. Sometimes, it seems so difficult to forgive someone, a friend or a colleague. It was a struggle for me to forgive but I then realise that it cannot be done by my own strength and I need Jesus help to do a such noble action. Now, when I think of the tortures and wounded our Lord Jesus accepted though he is innocent and asked the father to forgive them. So, am wondering, who Am I and not to forgive to my friends. With God nothing is impossible. Just have to keep our eyes fixed on him just like Peter who tried to walk on sea.
    We need your Lord Jesus to forgive others as you forgive me for my sins, weaknesses and temptations.
    Lord I need you – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rR_Rdb1CTE

    • Penelope

      Thank you Corine, that was just beautiful.

      • Corine Richenelle

        You are welcome, sister :)

  • Patrick Cassidy

    Forgiveness is very tough. I like to think of Christ’sresponse to the question on how often a man should forgive his brother. “7 times 77”. Was our Lord only talking about forgiving.him 539 times? Of course not! It shows tbat we are being called to break the cycle of violence (eye for an eye) by turning our left cheek to our oppressors. We don’t reciprocate the violence, nor will we run away from it. We will stand up to it and break the cycle with love. Jesus broke the cycle of sin and death through the cross. This is the real #lovewins.

  • mtt

    Absolute forgiving HAS to be the hardest thing to do, but so was the cross for Christ and HE DID NOTHING to deserve such punishment. He only ever extended his hands to heal, his heart to love. Awesome contemplation.

  • 50AF

    Bishop Barron hits on the two things the world needs most of all: Acknowledging sin, and forgiving sin. Both of which, of course, flow from a recognition that God is love, and that we are created by love and for love. If we know we are called to love and know what love is, then we know we are sinners. If we know we are called to love and know what love is, then we know to forgive. Sounds easy — rarely is.

  • Ann Marie Bisnathsingh

    To forgive on the surface level… is pretty easy, but when you have to get to the core and actually face the persons who have hurt you, I find it difficult. Lord help me to forgive fully, from the depth of my heart… Thank You Papa God for your Mercy, help me to be merciful to others!

    • Emmalee

      I agree Ann Marie. I have a memory that can bring up those bad experiences very quickly and do ask continually for help to forgive fully.

  • Corine Richenelle

    Just to share..My prayers are always in singing to our Lord Jesus. Praising and worshipping him in good and bad times. He is my comforter and refuge. Want to share this one with you.
    forgive them (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX5GyVOW2ws )

  • Patricia Robertson

    From its earliest myth, the Bible shows us that sin is–simply said–the separation from God, the claim of independence from the Divine. One of the main ways in which I effect that separation is in the refusal to forgiveness. I sin when I do not forgive; I sin when I refuse to accept forgiveness. I sometimes have found it harder to receive forgiveness than to give it, because if I accept your forgiveness–or God’s–I am first admitting that I have done something that requires forgiveness. The “conditional” part of the Lord’s Prayer is “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” We must ask; we must give. We must reunite ourselves to each other and to God in this all-encompassing act of forgiveness. I am reminded again of your Ash Wednesday post. Isn’t casting away unforgiveness part of this 40-day journey of stripping away attachments?

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    I have a question. If we cannot forgive ourselves. Can we truly forgive others? I find myself forgiving others because I see them as superior to me. Many injustices I feel that I deserve.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Hi Barbara,

      Yes you can! Just ask the Holy Spirit to help you do that.
      The evil one tries to confuse us by convincing us we are unworthy of forgiveness. It holds us back, sometimes, from accepting the Lord’s graces He gives us to forgive ourselves inhibiting our growth spiritually!

      The evil ones likes to keep us down, using such tactics as exploiting our own self worth. This he does to try and keep us from moving forward.

      The blessings and graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation helps you to forgive yourself as God forgives you.

      Your not alone. The evil one uses this allot. Since he cannot harm you because Jesus won’t let him, he tries to get you to destroy yourself.

      The Lord is closer to you than you are to yourself reminding you that when you forgive another out of love for Him, you have been forgive out of His Love for you!



      • Susanrose

        Thank you Michael for reminding me of the tactic of the enemies trying to allure us into the darkness of unworthy of forgiveness.

    • concerned citizen

      I find it easier to forgive others by understanding that no body is perfect (including myself ) rather than because I find them superior to me. Forgiving oneself comes easier if you realize God’s infinite love and mercy is greater than any sin in the world. Could there be any sin greater than what the people did to Jesus when they crucified Him, yet He asked His Father to forgive them?

    • Elizabeth

      Barbara, The closing prayer of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy it states: in difficult moments we might not despair or become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to your holy will which is love and mercy itself. Amen. I have found if I am having a difficult time and saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and get to this part, I tear up and relax and thank God for reminding me of His mercy. Peace

      • Barbara Ann Baugh

        Elizabeth my story actually begins actually before my birth. I was an ugly and clumsy child born to a beautiful athletic woman. My mother had been engaged to a young man who was test pilot The young man was killed a few months before their wedding. My mother married my father as one might say on the rebound. He was a young army officer on his way overseas theirs was a whirlwind courtship. I was born 9 months later and my father shipped overseas the night after I was born. I was the image of my father or more specifically my father’s Native American mother. My mother did not love my father (though he was smitten with her) and she could not love me. Through out our life mother kept our father away from us. She accused him of horrible things, He didn’t make enough money to please her. She accused him of laziness, and all sorts of other things. I was a sickly child and clumsy. I could never live up to my mother’s expectations. What was that minus doing behind the A. How could I get a C in PE it was such an easy class. All the criticisms were accompanied by the words “I wouldn’t say this say this if I didn’t love you: the only time I ever heard the words “I love you from her lips” Without realizing it I began to hate myself and seek out friendships where I was belittled This resulted in an abusive marriage. When I realized that my father was becoming frail and my mother was no longer taking care of him. I came back to help take care of them. Somewhere in the back of my mind I sought to reclaim the five years I was denied his company due to the war. My father died in January 2009, I continued on taking care of my mother and enduring her daily diatribes against my father. But my self hatred grew until I contemplated suicide. I planed it very carefully planned it to look like an accident but before I could enact my plans, I was diagnosed with a deadly cancer stage IV. Another thing I believe my mother never forgave me for.
        When I battled cancer, I forgave my mother for not loving me though I believe it is almost impossible for a beautiful woman to love and ugly child.
        On November 29 2015 my mother had a heart attack: she died on December 11. The family was with her 24 hours a day from her heart attack until the day she died. We divided it up in shifts. I spent from five to ten hours a day with my mother praying and looking for that one glance of love. I never saw it. She always showed preference for her beautiful blue-eyed blond athletic children. I saw that she had daily visits from the parish deacon and I prayed with her daily. I planned the readings and made all funeral arrangements. It was the most beautiful funeral . I had not had time enough to recover from the physical exhaustion. When my routine CT-scans revealed this life threatening situation. I have been examining my life and I realized that my mother had wounded me deeply. Even though I had forgiven her for everything. It really wasn’t her fault. I had not healed those wounds. I do not know how I can heal the wounds so that my mother will have my full forgiveness. And I could die anytime between now and Wednesday. I understand that at the anointing of the sick it is customary to make a general confession. I hope that is so as I will see father for an anointing on Tuesday. .

        • Elizabeth

          Barbara, I pray you can see yourself through the eyes of God. The love he has for you is unconditional love.

          Human beings are not gods. Your mother was imperfect, we are all imperfect.

          Did you ever think that maybe the family life she came from did not know how to show God’s love to one another? At the time of our growing up authority in the family, the church and society was a strict adherence to rules. There was no Dr. Spoke. (Are you 50 years Old? If so, then there was Dr. Spoke)

          In a loving family and extended family, this authoritarian rule was tempered – love was demonstrated through filial love.

          In Fiddler on the Roof when the husband and wife sing “Do you love me?” They realize they express their love with doing the everyday necessary activities for each other and their family.

          There are two families I can think had the gentle love of God. Joachim and Ann – Mary the Mother of God’s parent were close to God and therefore were able to demonstrate God’s love to their daughter and grandson. And, of course, Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s family unit had God in the center of their life.

          Barbara, what you and your siblings did for your parents at the end of their life, demonstrates to me the love you and your siblings were able to give to your parents. You lost yourself in this giving you didn’t think about what had gone on in the past, you just did. You also worked together with your siblings.

          To me, Barbara, your actions sound out loud and clear you did forgive your mother. And this is the reason to realize you were able to show her love despite the fact she did not know how.

          I pray you love, peace and joy in knowing God is surrounding you with his love. He will be there during your surgery.

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            Thank-you for your prayers

        • Emmalee

          Barbara – I am sorry you had to go through all of these difficulties. Definitely bring this up with Father at the anointing on Tuesday – he will be able to help you. I will offer prayers for your surgery – and, God is with you at all times. You can also ask for your guardian angel to be with you (which is already true) and ask the intercession of your patron – St. Barbara. I hope this helps.

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            My go to guy for all matters is St. Joseph, However I did discover another helper during the first bout with cancer. I now pray to St Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

  • Joseph T. Garcia

    Teach me to Forgive and Forget .

    • Kathygram

      Is it humanly possible to really forget? I don’t think so, but I have found that when I continually forgive someone for an offense, I have a peace in my heart that can only come from God. This act of kindness seems to release me from any bitterness that may have grown within me and over time even when a thought of the sinful act enters my mind it exits as quickly as it entered. The peace of Christ!

  • Penelope

    I try hard to remember that the Peace that reigns in my heart is not of my own doing, that it is a gift of the Lord’s Presence in me. When the storms come, one of the things I do is pray as Pope Francis said: the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be. And as the storm fades into the background, I know that am not alone, and this Peace that passes all human understanding raises me up above the turmoil of my difficulty.
    To know that my sins are forgiven, that the price has been paid – this is Mercy. “Comfort, comfort my people,” says the Lord in Isaiah 40. What am I waiting for?? It is the Lord Who works in hearts to lead his children in the good way. All I have to do is share the Good News of love and forgiveness with those he puts before me. If I know this Peace, why would I not share it?? Then they will encounter him and come to know His Peace, His Love, His Forgiveness, and go and sin no more. This to me, is Divine Mercy.
    Now back to the Pater, the Ave, and the Gloria. One evening, two of my granddaughters were feeling quite sad, and I suggested we do as Pope Francis has said, to pray these three prayers. We each had our little prayer book, and we lay there in the quiet, and prayed each one quietly in our heart. They were very quiet, and after a little time of silence, I asked my youngest granddaughter how she felt, and she was smiling now, and said, “I feel sleepy.” This is the Peace, the encounter with the Living God.
    Let’s share the Good News of love and forgiveness with someone and let the Lord have his way with them! Amen!
    * prayer booklet we used: Catholic Prayers and Practices, including The Order of Mass,
    RCL Benziger, 30699, 9-780782-916195.

  • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

    In the movie “Love Story” the lead male actor says something to the woman he loves that offends her deeply. When he tells her he is sorry her response was, “Love is never having to say your sorry” !.
    In reality it is highly improbable that anyone could go thru life (with the exception of Jesus and His Mother) without having to say they are sorry for something said or done to someone.

    That is one reason Jesus had to institute the Sacrament of Reconciliation, not just for seeking forgiveness from God for having hurt someone by our words but to receive the grace needed to forgive ourselves.

    I am half Irish on my mother’s side. Mom’s maiden name was Jones (Welsh) and her mother’s name was Ryan. My great grand parents ” came over on the boat”. Both were named O’Ryan, but we’re not related. A common name in Ireland.

    We are “known” as having tempers and I do but the Lord helps me to keep it under control…. most of the time!

    I have said things to others, I should not have and many opportunies passed me by without saying I am sorry.
    The hardestest part of forgiving for me is, at times, is not the forgiving as it is returning to the work place the next day and contiue to work with and/or around that person knowing it is only a matter of time they will insult me once again and once again I ask God to forgive them and help me for give.

    At a Charismatic prayer meeting, years ago, one of my fellow prayer warriors walked up to me during a brief break and handed me several books and said that the Holy Spirit had prompted her to do so.
    As I was checking out the book titles, one “jumped put at me”, as we say during the meeting.
    It was about controlling your tongue! God’s way of telling me His concern about what I said about others!

    Long before that a priest was giving a homily at Mass concerning this very thing. He tells a true story about a person who confessed they had been saying allot of things to others about certain people they all knew. So for a penence the priest told the person to go home, take a pillow and empty out all the feathers and come back to confession the following week. The person thought that was odd but did as they were told.
    During confession the following week the priest asked if they had done what he told them to do. The person said yes! Then the priest told the person to go home and “gather up all the feathers and put them back into the pillow case”. The person immediately told the priest “that is impossible”!
    The priest agreed and said your words that have brought shame to another are like the feathers in the pillow…… once you release them you can never get them all back!

    There are words of discipline that are often needed in our lives but are more to the order of wisdom not hate.

    Pray each day for the Holy Spirit to help you speak out of love not revenge!


    The Prayer Warrior

  • Susanrose

    When we forgive, we empower others to receive that same peace and freedom.
    Our Lord spoke with simplicity which we complicate matters. Lord by your grace and mercy let me forgive like a child and not complicate matters in every word that you say..
    Thank you my precious Lord for you are good all the time, your Mercy endures forever

    Peace to all💕

  • concerned citizen

    Which is more difficult to do? To forgive others or to ask for forgiveness? They require different virtues. To forgive others requires compassion and mercy. To ask for forgiveness requires humility.

    Some people may find easy to forgive others but find it hard to ask for forgiveness. While for others, it is the reverse. Some even find it hard to forgive even after they have experienced forgiveness like in the Parable of the Debtors. In this case, the one who received forgiveness is not truly sorry for what he did.

    Why did our Lord say that our Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive our brothers and sisters? It is because only a truly merciful heart has the capacity to receive the grace of forgiveness.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      It is one thing to say I am sorry. It is quite another to ask forgiveness. We can say a truly sincere “I am sorry and try our hardest to make amends. But to ask for forgiveness or even accept forgiveness that is freely given that is difficult. It is our natural desire to be punished.

      • concerned citizen

        Barbra, I agree with what you said except the last sentence. Why do you say, it is our natural desire to be punished? I think most would not want to be punished, like going to jail, for instance. Most would prefer to be given a second chance.

  • Gary

    Love your enemies, love those that hate you, and if someone slaps you, turn the other cheek. Jesus not only said this, but he lived it. God created man and woman and they sinned against God. God cursed them. Where is the forgiveness you might ask. That curse remains on the world, and will remain until he comes back to establish his kingdom. John 3:16 For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God’s forgiveness is the gift of his Son. God the Father forgives us by sacrificing Jesus for our sins knowing that he would be beaten, humiliated, spit upon, and nailed to a cross. Yet that was not enough. God told Jesus that he would have to become sin by taking every filthy sin, past, present and future on himself. Out of his love for his Father and us, he committed himself to this mission and died for us. Now our Father asks us to commit our lives to Jesus knowing he conquered death for us. Can you find it in your heart to forgive him for the curse he put on us because of our sin and commit your life to him? He is always there waiting for you to come to him. He is waiting with open arms for YOU,. Remember forgiveness requires action on your part. May God bless you in every way.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell


      Be careful of your choice of words.
      No one has to forgive God for God is Holy. He has not and cannot do anything wrong for He is Perfect.

      The words the scripture uses refers to the curse we brought on ourselves because of our pride.

      God cannot curse anything He created for all He created was and still is good. Mankind rejected God and brought shame and pain on himself.

      The Prayer Warrior

      • Gary

        You are
        right in what you are saying. People sometimes have a hard time forgiving God for the situation they are in and will blame God for this not realizing that God wants what is best for them, but they will not make the change or humble themselves before God to receive his Grace. I blamed God when my son was born deaf and I shook my fist at him because he let this happen. I later realized that there was a reason that he was born that way. This was the start of God softening my heart of stone. Three years later I committed my life to Jesus and was able to thank him for my son’s deafness. He is 45 years old, and just about each time I see him, he puts his arms around me kisses my cheek, and tells me he loves me. How many times have you heard people say:. What kind of God would allow that horrible event to happen? You are right. God is perfect and does not need to be forgiven, but man is not perfect and has to know that he is always forgiven by God. All he has to do is accept the Grace of forgiveness through repentance. I probably could have worded my initial message better to convey my thoughts. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell


          Well said! Sometimes our words on paper don’t often convey what our minds are thinking and our hearts are feeling.

          You did good presenting what you were feeling.

          Thank you,

          The prayer Warrior

        • Becky

          Beautiful! Reading your story was touching how God used your son as an instrument to soften your heart!
          Simply Beautiful!

      • Gary

        Read Genesis 2: 17-19 To Adam he said, “because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “you must not eat of it.” CURSED is the ground because of you. Michael I would not put any limits on God. After all he is God and he can do what ever he wants to do. He once wiped out most of the world with a flood.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell


          I am not putting limits on God.
          He is Perfect Love which cannot curse anything He creates!

          You have allot to learn especially about the writers of the Bible. Also you are reading a fourth level or translation.
          First there was Aramaic (street or common Hebrew) then there is scholarly Hebrew, from those two scripture was translated to Greek and from Greek to Latin (the Vulgate) and grom the Vulgate to English and so on.
          Also the writers use language to emohazise a thought or point.
          Remember the Bible is not a literal translation for meanings of some words in one language do not have an equal word in another language.

          Example- In Hebrew there is no word for cousin so the writers substitute “brother”. In scripture it speaks of James as the “brother” of Jesus. Jesus had no brothers. James was a cousin by marriage. The Hebrew understood this but in today’s language, cousin does not mean brother and brother does not mean cousin!

          I could go on and on.

          The important thing is to love God and follow His commandments.


          The Prayer Warrior

          • Gary

            All I can do is quote you on what I believe is the word of God. If you deny that God cursed the land which he created with his voice, I would suggest you talk to a priest. We may have lost some meaning in the translations, but this scripture is critical to understanding man’s sinful nature. Jesus tells us a lot of things about the world.

          • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell


            Take this transcrpt to a priest. He will tell you I am right.

            I have a Bachelor of Art degree in Theology from Ohio Dominican University, in Columbus, Ohio, a Catholic college and the degree taught in the Roman Catholic Tradition.

            By the way, I am 70 years old….. I am not a kid who was taught wrong. Many of my professors are priests!

            The Prayer Warrior

          • Gary

            I am not a child either. I have read and studied scripture for 43 years. My teacher is the HOLY SPIRIT.

          • Gary

            Head knowledge of the scriptures is one thing. Heart knowledge is even better. I don’t try to figure out God. I try to abide by his word through the Holy Spirit that speaks to my heart.

    • Emmalee

      Hi Gary,
      I get the sense that you have a beef with the Catholic Church. Maybe I am wrong. However, if I am right, this is not the place to bash others.

      • Gary

        Emmalee, why would you think that I have a beef with the Catholic Church? I have been a Catholic for 73 years and love God’s church. What do you not agree with me on what I wrote? If I bashed you or anyone by what I wrote, I ask for forgiveness.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell


          Your right in saying Christ died for all sinners. But you must consider the situation at that time. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin the gates of Heaven were closed. Christ’s death and resurrection “re-opened the gates of heaven.

          From that point on all humanity, every man, woman and child was given a free will to choose right or wrong, God’s way of life or the evil ones way of destruction and eternal death.

          So Jesus, knowing our weak natures, established another way of receiving forgiveness and received special graces to help us avoid sin through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Now, if our lives are in peril and need to get to confession but cannot then ask God’s forgiveness with a contrite heart and the Lord will forgive you.

          Now some who are healthy think they D
          don’t need a priest and all they need to do is say an Act ofContrition. That is correct so long the sin are venial not moral.


          The Prayer Warrior

        • Emmalee

          I stated that I might have been wrong and I was. No need to ask forgiveness.

    • Susanrose

      If there is someone to be mad or a bone to be pick at, it’s Adam and Eve for they were the one who were disobedience. It show us how sin effects not just the person who committed the sin,but generation to come will be effected. So we need to pray for the grace and go to confession to not sin, that we can be free from bondage of sins that are committed by ourselves and our ancestors

      Peace to all

      • Gary

        Jesus died once for all sin. He said just before he died “It is finished.” I am not mad at anyone. That would be contrary to what I wrote. Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the world. That would be my sin, your sin, everyone’s sin, and he bore our sins on the cross to make us righteous in the eyes of God. Scripture says “If we confess our sin he is faithful and just and will forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. You see it was Jesus’ death for your life. Romans 18 “YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE FROM SIN AND HAVE BECOME SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Grace is freely given; just ask for it. Most of what you wrote is exactly what I wrote. WOW!! Is it not wonderful to know that Jesus conquered death for us. You will not find that kind of love in this world. O DEATH WHERE IS THY STING? Be joyful in your Christian walk. Rejoice in the Lord always.

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

    Stand up for yourself in all injustice and do not be a Catholic wimp. Never be a wimp that has to work where you think you must. Forgiveness to me means passing along and allowing God to be present. This means responsibility of NOT being a wimp and being like you think you should be. Ask God how to forgive and be yourself and stand up for yourself. See that feels better!

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

    Being able to forgive is the ability to see how cockeyed everyone is. But don’t be a door mat. See the wrong confront it and let the air pass.

    • Elizabeth

      Pray first than speak or act. In this way the wisdom of God comes through. Amazing how this works!

  • christine

    I do not doubt the importance, and the great human struggle, to forgive wrongs.
    I find the use of Christ’s words to his apostles stretched here to a point I can’t accept. These words were used at the institution of the priesthood. I cannot forgive as a priest forgives or as Christ forgives, and I don’t think Our Lord requires that of me. The forgiveness of sins is for Jesus Christ, and his priests in Alter Christus, in the place of Christ, in the sacrament of confession. Very confusing to blur the difference between the laity and ordained priests.

    I do try in my heart to forgive wrongs, hurts, wounds I have, both real and imagined! Many times that person does not even need to know I have forgiven them. Right now I am praying for a few people I am at odds with. I don’t know what else to do!

    • 50AF

      Christine, I agree there is a risk of confusion here. But I think we have to recognize the distinction implied above between “sacramental forgiveness” and “divine forgiveness.”

      Sacramental forgiveness is indeed reserved for the office of the priest exercised in the confessional and is indeed an integral component of the salvation God offers to us. But as is so often the case with our Lord, he calls us to go ever deeper into our faith, both within and beyond the “law” at one and the same time. And so while sacramental forgiveness remains integral and necessary, it achieves it’s fullest expression in the universal call to forgiveness. Perhaps we can say that sacramental forgiveness reunites us personally to God and his grace, but the divine forgiveness that we are all called to participate in reunites in grace his entire Mystical Body, which is the fullest expression of our existence?

      Just a thought. Interesting and thought-provoking question, though. Bishop Barron never fails in that regard!

    • Elizabeth

      What was told to me many years ago: imagine you are looking at Jesus face, take your hands and give the burden you are feeling and give them over to Jesus. Don’t take them back.

      • Emmalee

        This is something I have learned as well. I do have the problem of taking back – that is a tough one but I continue working on it.

  • Linda Dokey

    Yes Lord Jesus, I have forgiven those who have harmed me mentally and Spirituality in the past. I am ready for not only for my beginning but the Parish they nearly Destroyed. Have Mercy On US Lord Jesus! Amen

  • rtclovesmac

    Yes, I do accept this mission realizing fully the challenges it presents to me and in many cases those who associate with mr.

    Forgiveness is often perceived poorly in the eyes of a world that seeks its own view of justice.

    Likewise, many will use this reflection as a justification not to go to a Priest to be reconciled with the Lord.

    Lord let me be a vehicle of Your
    Peace, love and mercy.

    This reflection should be tied today’s Divine Mercy reflection pronouncing obedience to our Confessir.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    Asking for prayers, I will be receiving the anointing of the sick on Tuesday and will have surgery on Wednesday two day or more hospital stay.

    • Elizabeth

      Will place you on our church’s intercessory prayer group.

  • Debra Voss

    Am I to understand that if I am not forgiven by others I am bound to the sin? I understood this to mean that if i didn’t forgive others I would not be forgiven.please explain

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      The Lord’s Prayer is pretty clear on that matter “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. ” We must at least strive to forgive and ask God for the grace to forgive.

  • Becky

    Forgiveness is the freedom of the soul. As it is so hard sometimes to forgive someone who has hurt you, it is harder yet to forgive Yourself of the things you have done in your life That have caused you to sin and others to sin as well and to humble ourselves and confess and repent of the things we have done.
    Jesus asked for forgiveness from the cross until his death for those who did not believe in him and to open the way of salvation. It is only through forgiveness that we find our salvation.
    Thank You Lord for the gift of the sacrament of confession.

  • Penelope

    I’ve found that the journey to forgive someone is multi-layered, like an onion, with many tears shed along the way. To forgive someone does not mean that I am saying that what has happened was okay – it means “I’ll not be the judge.” It means I’m telling the Lord that I am willing to forgive, and that I release the person from my judgement.

    I have also learned that I I may be willing, but my feelings have been hurt, and my emotions damaged. I often need to ask the Lord to bring my will in line with His, as well as my hurt feelings and damaged emotions.

    I have learned that forgiveness is a journey of healing: healing of mind, body, and spirit – both for me, and for the person I am forgiving.

  • Norma

    To me, one of the most difficult practices for catholics, is forgiveness. I have encounter, people that hurt my feelings over and over. Even though I let go of some issues, and not to pay much attention to it, but then when I see that person again, bad memories come back. So for that reason I am always asking God to keep walking with me , because I know everything is possible with God.

  • Sam

    After many years, many trials, many missteps, I’ve finally come to a place where forgiveness has become easier, rather become a part of who I am. It is intensely freeing. I have found through God’s grace and mercy that forgiveness unleashes a love of neighbor I have never before felt. It allows me to pray for those who cause great pain, who are unforgiving and for others who accept forgiveness with open hearts.

  • Therese

    While forgiveness is indeed an act flowing from the one who is wronged (with great healing), I always find a reflection on the forgiveness of sins rather incomplete without addressing the requirement that sin must first be acknowledged in order to reap the benefits of God’s mercy.

  • Seam Side Out

    Thank you, Fr. Barron, for pointing out that tiny little bit of responsibility!

  • Kelly Bedan

    I’ll never forget that story. Apparently it touched a lot of people and the forgiveness of someone who takes your child always amazes me. They didn’t even hesitate. God is truly with them.

  • Mary Berning


  • Katherine

    I never thought of the common priesthood as being able to bind or loose sins and bear forgiveness to the world. I know it does, but how does the common priesthood’s power in this regard differ from the ordained priesthood in this regard?