May 18, 2015 (Acts 20:17-27)

Paul is in Ephesus (he spent more time there than anywhere else on his missionary journeys). He finds people that were “baptized” in the baptism preached by John the Baptist for “forgiveness of sins.” They were not baptized in the “Name of Jesus” or the Holy Trinity. In fact, they didn’t know there was a “Holy Spirit.” Paul takes action to remedy this.

John the Baptist put emphasis on acknowledging sins, while Jesus always stressed “God’s love and forgiveness.” This is an important and subtle thing. Many people today dread going to confession as they feel weighed down by their sins and see coming to confession as a negative. (The fear of going to hell, for example) The Sacrament of Penance should be a joyful thing placing emphasis on God’s love and mercy. Forgiveness is “a celebration of love and communion.” In the Sacrament, “God confesses His love, forgiveness…and trust in us.” “It is God’s confession that enables us to confess.” These quotes come from a little book called “Freedom and Forgiveness.” Do you see going to confession as a celebration or as something to fear?

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