If there are any parents who have teenagers out there
Or if your child is going to attempt to teach your grandchild how to drive
I have three words of advice for you… “Don’t do it.”
My Dad taught me to drive and it was a sources of constant stress for both of us.
One day he walked into the school office where he was Principal and yelled at the top of his lungs that kid is going to kill me.
Those driving lessons were a stream of don’t do that, look out over there, don’t forget to check the mirror, there’s a stop sign coming up, as I thought to myself yeah it’s three blocks ahead.
Those lessons were difficult for sure. But when the day came and I was going to take the car on my own out for the first time he simply walked over to me at supper put the keys on the table and said “I trust you”
Those were the last words he said before I ventured forth they were the most important and they meant the world to me.
Today’s Gospel relates some of Jesus’ last words to the Apostles before they ventured out to proclaim the Gospel on their own.
When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room where they were hiding he didn’t list or lecture them about their failing,
He didn’t lament that they had abandoned him he simply said to them.
“As the Father Sent me so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you hold bound are held bound.” He could have said anything.
He could have given them a long list of instructions but he didn’t.
That moment in the upper room was just too important for that
Rather he commissioned the Apostles and those who would follow them to forgive sins, not simply announce God’s forgiveness but to actually to forgive sins.
Those simple words seem to frame up Jesus’ entire mission on earth and the entire mission of the Church to this day.
Jesus came to forgive, He came to reconcile and go give peace and by doing so and by dying on the cross he open the door of salvation for each of us.
Yes, he healed some people along the way, and worked some miracles, but that was not his primary purpose.
In reality he simply came to proclaim the truth, show us the way home, and forgive us when we fall short.
Now there are couple of things we need to remember.
We do not decide what is right and wrong l what is good or what is bad.
The moral value of an action is not determined by how we feel about a given action.
What is right and what is wrong is determined by God and God’s law,
God knows what’s best for us.
We the Church don’t make the rules, they come from Divine revelation and the Teaching of Jesus Christ.
So the Church proclaims the truth, shows the way home, and is commissioned with giving us forgiveness when we fall short.
The first step in receiving forgiveness is to admit that we did something wrong,
Until we accept God’s dominion over our lives we can’t really be forgiven
until we come to understand the neither we nor our culture make the rules we really can’t be forgiven.
God longs for us to understand what is right and wrong, good and bad
He longs for us to follow his example of selfless love as we journey home
And He longs to forgive us when we fall short if we ask him.
This reconciliation this gift of forgiveness must not only be between God and us it must also be between all of God’s children.
We must forgive each other like God forgives us.
Holding onto the pain of past injuries will only causes us more pain and sadness.
We all know that our human experience is often like pendulum, it swings from extreme to extreme.
The Church has made lots of mistakes in this regard.
When I was a child everything was a sin.. And there were those who believed eating meat on Fridays was such a serious sin that it could deprive you of heaven for ever.
In the Sixties when everything was confused we went to the other extreme and nothing was a sin. the pendulum swung the other way There was no need to ask forgiveness because there was nothing that was really wrong.
We don’t need someone telling us that there is no sin
That God loves us and is so very willing to forgive us if we ask him.
For Jesus said receive the Holy Spirit whatever Sin your forgive is forgiven them.
Today is Mercy Sunday a day when the whole Church celebrated God’s loving Mercy and revealed to us by St. Faustina.
Thank you Lord for the road map home and thank you Lord for your mercy and forgiveness which all of us so desperately need. Amen