22. — The Powers bestowed on the Apostles.

The Powers bestowed on the Apostles.

Read St. John xx.  23.

[23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

1.  Jesus now proceeded to bestow upon the apostles first the power to be apostles and then priests, and the privilege of offering the Holy Sacrifice.  The latter had indeed been given at the Last Supper in the words “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Now it is confirmed in the words, “As My Father sent Me, so I send you.”  Christ was sent to offer a Propitiatory Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  The apostles were sent to offer the same sacrifice — to carry on to the end of time in themselves and their successors the Sacrifice of Calvary.

2.  Besides this, it also included the power to forgive sins.  The Son of Man had power on earth to forgive sins — not only to declare the sinner loosed from his sins, but to loose him.  So, too, every priest of God has power to loose from sin in the Sacrament of Penance.  How many a sinner knows by experience the consoling influence of the sacrament so justly called the Sacrament of Consolation!  How many a broken heart has there found relief from a sorrow that was too hard for human heart to bear!  Thank God for it with all your heart!

3.  Our Lord in conferring these apostolic and priestly powers breathed upon His apostles, as the sign that He was bestowing upon them the same Spirit that had breathed in Him.  The Spirit of God was upon Him to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to preach deliverance to the captives.  The same spirit breathes now throughout the Catholic Church, not in her priests alone, but in all her children who seek to carry on the work of Jesus.  On all there rests the same Holy Spirit, giving life and power to their prayers, their words, their deeds.



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