The Forgiveness of Sins
3rd Sunday of Easter

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

God wants us back. God forgives. This is the good news that is proclaimed in this Sunday’s readings. In the Gospel, Jesus appeared to His disciples, and after assuring them then that indeed it was He, he explained the scriptures to them “This is what is written, the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations” (Lk. 24:45-47). The letter of John in the second reading reiterates this message, “And Christ himself is the means by which our sins are forgiven, and not our sins only, but the sins of everyone” (1Jn.2:2). In the first reading, Peter proclaims the message, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that He will forgive your sins” (Acts 3:19).

Action starter: Identify your own weak points and invite Christ to strengthen them.

The forgiveness of sins is central to the Christian message. This presupposes the reality of sin and its consequences. This also lays bare the human tendency to sin. Finally, it is not by our own power that we are freed from this miserable condition but it is by God’s power that we re saved. As this well-known passage from John proclaims, “If we say that we have no sin, then we deceive ourselves, there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right and he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing” (1Jn. 1:9).

How can sin be denied? It is a blind person who does not see sin and its effects around him. How else do we explain the reality of crimes, war, hunger, and all forms of inhumanity that human beings do to one another? Sin dehumanizes us. Sin makes us less than human. Sin brings us down. Sin distorts God’s plan for creation and humanity.

The human tendency is to deny our own contribution to the environment of sin. Somebody else did it, not me. This blame passing existed as early as Adam and Eve (Gen. 3). When God asked them if they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam answered,” The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” When asked why she did it, Eve replied, “The snake tricked me into eating it.”

Even today, we see a lot of this passing of blame among famous personalities in this country. With all the bright people we have in government, the academe, the church, the media, the various professions, one would think this country would be lifted up from the mire of corruption and apathy. It is about time that we ask ourselves how we have contributed to the environment of sin. Sin in the form of greed, lust, deceit, pride, resentment, envy, gluttony, and laziness is becoming a way of life. Personal sin becomes structural sin. For example, a well-meaning person becomes employed in a government office where certain procedures and standard practices are downright illegal and immoral. It takes a lot of personal integrity and courage to not become part of the system. We have seen many examples of good persons who were crucified for becoming witnesses to the truth.

All is not lost. The story of Jesus did not end on the cross. Jesus conquered death and overcame the power of sin. Jesus shares His victory with us. There is a way out of the prison of sinfulness. All we need to do is acknowledge our own sin, have true sorrow and contrition, resolve to observe God’s commands, confess them, and make reparations the best way we can. We can then make contributions toward renewed structures that bring a culture of life. This is what the resurrection is all about.