And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
One basic question people often have about reconciliation is "Why bother?" Why not just take your sins to God directly? Who needs a middleman? The answer is found in the cry of a little child who crawled into bed with her parents one night during a thunderstorm. Didn't she know Jesus was there in the room with her, asked her mother? "Yes," she said, "But I need somebody with skin on." We need somebody with skin on, particularly when we are facing our own sins. We need somebody who can listen and hold us accountable lest we delude ourselves. We also need to hear — with our ears — that we are forgiven since the mind is a notorious echo chamber that fosters both presumption and despair. And so Jesus, in today's verse, empowers His priests to forgive sins in His name. The Word became flesh and He still comes to us with skin on.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OUR READERS
Catholic Exchange is free—but it is not free to produce. Advertising revenue covers only a fraction of the cost to generate reliably Catholic commentary and news, inspiring videos, a selection of the best Catholic blogs, and daily meditations and prayers.
To give us the strength and stability we need, Catholic Exchange is turning to you—our loyal reader—and asking you to become a monthly contributor.
Whether you can give $5 or $25, $50 or $100 each month, please leave something behind so we can continue—and strengthen—this important apostolate.
We are deeply grateful for one-time gifts, but we encourage you to choose “Monthly” on the drop-down menu. Your support will ensure that Catholic Exchange will be here during this most critical moment for the Church and America.