The Father has shown forth his mercy by reconciling the world to himself in Christ and by making peace for all things on earth and in heaven by the blood of Christ on the cross. The Son of God made man lived among men in order to free them from the slavery of sin and to call them out of darkness into his wonderful light. He therefore began his work on earth by preaching repentance and saying: “Turn away from sin and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
This invitation to repentance, which had often been sounded by the prophets, prepared the hearts of men for the coming of the Kingdom of God through the voice of John the Baptist who came “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4).
At Good Shepherd Catholic Parish we conveniently offer penance every Saturday.
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More about Penance
Jesus, however, not only exhorted men to repentance so that they should abandon their sins and turn wholeheartedly to the Lord, but he also welcomed sinners and reconciled them with the Father. Moreover, by healing the sick he signified his power to forgive sin. Finally, he himself died for our sins and rose again for our justification.
Therefore, on the night he was betrayed and began his saving passion, he instituted the sacrifice, of the new covenant in his blood for forgiveness of sins. After his resurrection he sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, empowering them to forgive or retain sins and sending them forth to all peoples to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name.
The Lord said to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed also in heaven.” (Matthew 6:19). In obedience to this command, on the day of Pentecost Peter preached the forgiveness of sins by baptism; “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
Since then the Church has never failed to call men from sin to conversion and by the celebration of penance to show the victory of Christ over sin.
This victory is first brought to light in baptism where our fallen nature is crucified with Christ so that the body of sin may be destroyed and we may no longer be slaves to sin, but rise with Christ and live for God.
For this reason the Church proclaims its faith in “the one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”
In the sacrifice of the Mass the passion of Christ is made present; his body given for us and his blood and shed for the forgiveness of sins are offered to God again by the Church for the salvation of the world.
In the Eucharist Christ is present and is offered as “the sacrifice which has made our peace” with God and in order that “we may be brought together in unity” by his Holy Spirit.
Furthermore our Savior Jesus Christ, when he gave to his apostles and their successor’s power to forgive sins, instituted in his Church the sacrament of penance. Thus the faithful who fall into sin after baptism may be reconciled with God and renewed in grace.
The Church “possesses both water and tears: the water of baptism, the tears of penance.”