Call to repentance

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me,and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.

Now therefore amend your ways, and your doings, and hearken to the voice of the Lord your God: and the Lord will repent of the evil that he hath spoken against you. [Jeremiah 26:13]

Therefore will I judge every man according to his ways, O house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities: and iniquity shall not be your ruin. [Ezekiel 18:30]

In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea and saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Matthew 3:1-2]

After being tempted for forty days in the desert, Jesus was baptised and was filled with  the Holy Spirit. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  [Matthew 4:17]

Unless you repent, you will all perish [Luke 13:3]

The Apostles were sent to preach repentance [Mark 6:12] It is our duty to become disciples of the Lord, and follow the steps of the apostles transmitting the message of repentance to everyone. We will be judged for not telling others to repent as in the case of the prophet [Ezekiel 3:18 - 21]

[James 5:19-20 ]
 19 My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one converts him:
 20 He must know that he who causes a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.

After the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, Peter was filled with courage to proclaim the gospel, while he addressed the crowds and exhorted them to be saved from their perverse generation, he also said these words concerning repentance:
Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [
Acts 2:38]

God has overlooked the times of our ignorance, [we don't really know how bad our offence is when we sin] , so He has commanded all men everywhere to repent [Acts 17:30]

In order to repent we must subject the passions of the flesh and all our human weaknesses to the power of the Holy Spirit, we must suffer as we amend our lives and change [2 Corinthians 7:10], but the Lord will reward us for coming to Him like the prodigal son.

We must produce fruits in keeping with repentance [Matthew 3:8], fruits that will lead us to holiness, then we must continue with perseverance otherwise we may lose the privilege that the Lord has conferred us [Revelation 2:5]

The Church

The Church was given the power to forgive sins the day of the Resurrection of Our Lord.
Jesus appeared to the apostles and spoke not just to them but to those who would represent his Church in the future [ the priests ]

[Jn 20:21-23 ]

21
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

By the Law of the Church, we must confess our sins at least once a year. Of course we must confess our sins as soon as we commit mortal sin. Mortal sin is the sin that makes our souls die eternally, in other words it leads us to hell.

Unless we confess our mortal sins, we are doomed to go to hell, mortal sins are those violations of any of the ten commandments. Venial sins are sins of lesser degree than mortal sins, they eventually lead us to mortal sin. No one is exempt from sin, therefore we must humble ourselves and go to confession at least once a month. By confession is understood the personal confession of our sins to a priest. There are other types of general confessions, but they have no validity unless we confess our sins personally to the priest except in an emergency that would prevent otherwise. e.g. there is a war and people don't have the time to confess their sins personally.

Why do we confess our sins to a priest and not to God directly ?

[Jn 20:21-23 ]

21
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

Let us examine this passage:

Peace be with you: Peace is the fruit of reconciliation. Jesus reconciled us to the Father by His death on the cross. He paid for the debt of our sins and by his wounds we are healed. He came after the Resurrection to participate of His victory over sin, the first fruit of his victory was the Peace that He gave to his apostles, the same peace that we experience when we go to confession and receive the absolution.

As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you: Jesus is  the Son of God who has the power to forgive sins, He founded His Church on Peter the Rock, now after His death on the cross, He sent the apostles with the same power to forgive sins, this way He can be with us in the Church until the end of times.

He breathed on them: When Adam and Eve received the first breath from God, they became alive. They lost their immortality through sin, therefore it was necessary for us to be given new life through the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is the Life!

Receive the Holy Spirit: Before His death, Jesus said to the apostles, unless I die, the Holy Spirit will not come [John 16:7], now Jesus died and resurrected, by His breath we receive now forgiveness of our sins and new life through our new spirit, The Holy Spirit. This is a fulfilment of the Prophecy the Lord made through the Prophet [Ezequiel 36:26] I will give you my spirit.

Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained : Anyone who rejects this passage is surely rejecting the power of Jesus to forgive sins, which here is delegated to the Church.

When we come to a priest we come to one who has been empowered to forgive sins through the anointing given by the Lord to his apostles and to the Church. "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."

As we come to the priest to confess our sins, we are being humble before God and we come with a contrite heart just as the Lord wants, we are also being witnesses of the Word of Christ by accepting it, we give Glory to God the Father for accepting the forgiveness of the Son through the Church and we give Glory to the Holy Spirit who is always present in the Sacraments of the Church.

The Catholic Church is the Church founded on the Blood of Christ the Rock, who asked Peter to feed His Sheep, therefore making Him a Shepherd after Him [John 21:17]. The Church is also rooted on the blood of the apostles and the martyrs who gave their lives as a testimony of their faith in Christ.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The Catholic Church is the Church of the Way, the Church of the truth and the Church of the Life. The Way and the Truth we find in her teachings, the Life we find in the sacraments.

 

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