MEDITATION OF THE DAY
“Your sins are forgiven”
Sometimes the battle [between good and evil] is expressed using the image of a pair of scales. In terms of this symbol, we could say that God, through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross, placed that expiation of infinite value on the side of good, so that it would always ultimately prevail. In Polish, the word for “Redeemer” is Odkupiciel, derived from the verb odkupić meaning “regain.” Similarly, the Latin term Redemptor is related to the verb redimere (regain). This etymological analysis may bring us closer to understanding the reality of the Redemption.
Closely connected to it are the concepts of forgiveness and justification. Both these terms belong to the language of the Gospel. Christ forgave sins, strongly emphasizing that the Son of Man had the power to do so. When they brought the paralytic before him, the first thing he said was: My son, your sins are forgiven; only later did he add: Rise, take up your bed and go home. In so doing he implicitly made the point that sin is a greater evil than physical paralysis. And after the Resurrection, when he appeared for the first time in the Upper Room where the Apostles were assembled, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side, breathed on them, and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. In this way he revealed that the power to forgive sins, which only God possesses, has been given to the Church. At the same time he reaffirmed that sin is the greatest evil from which man has to be delivered, and he showed that the faculty to bring about this deliverance has been entrusted to the Church through the Passion and redemptive death of Christ.
Saint John Paul II
Saint John Paul II († 2005) reigned as pope from 1978 until 2005. [From Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium. © 2005, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 300 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010. www.rizzoliusa.com. Reprinted with permission.]