Oct 17 2020 Reflection
Saturday 17 October 2020
First Reading: EPH 1:15-23
You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
PS 8:2-3AB, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel Reading: LK 12:8-12
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.
“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say.
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
The one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10)
Wait! Doesn’t God forgive all sins? Isn’t his mercy inexhaustible? Yes, he does, and yes, it is. So what is Jesus really saying?
Pope St. John Paul II put it this way: blasphemy does not mean “offending against the Holy Spirit in words,” but rather “in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers . . . through the Holy Spirit” (Dominum et Vivificantem, 46). It’s not that there’s literally an “unforgivable sin” that we can commit. God will forgive any sin we bring to him. But if we don’t ask for and receive his forgiveness, it becomes “unforgivable.” It’s like being in a room that you’ve locked from the inside, and you won’t let the Lord in. You’re trapped, but you’re the one who has trapped yourself.
Now, we all know what it’s like to struggle to repent of sin. We may carry so much shame and guilt that we’re reluctant to bring it all to the Lord. Perhaps we think that what we’ve done is just too serious to be forgiven. Or we may not even recognize that what we’re doing is an offense against God, so we don’t bother to ask his forgiveness. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. He stirs our conscience, showing us where we have sinned. Then he urges us to seek the Lord in prayer and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we ignore these promptings, we push away the salvation that God is offering. Conversely, when we do follow them, our relationship with God grows stronger. We experience his mercy and compassion firsthand, and we realize that though we are sinners, we are redeemed and loved.
Never doubt God’s desire to forgive you! Never hesitate to bring to him whatever sin is burdening you. Believe that God wants nothing more than to hear the priest say to you, “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Holy Spirit, help me to recognize my sins, and give me the courage to seek your forgiveness.”