Divine Mercy Sunday, Second Sunday of Easter
April 16, 2023 •
If the Pharisees and Sadducees knew it was the Lord, then of course He'd have the power to forgive sins, He's God. But their objection was legitimate. Honestly, it's the same objection that Catholics and Christians in general have about priests hearing confessions and forgiving sins: How can a man forgive sins? Why do I need to go to a man to get my sins forgiven?
Jesus says you do.
Jesus is the man. The human through which our sins are forgiven. He is the only one through Whom our sins can be forgiven.
He has determined the mode by which we, His disciples, come to Him to have our sins forgiven. . . .
There is no doubt that Jesus Christ Himself has given this Sacrament - reconciliation, confession - to the Church as the "ordinary" means of the forgiveness of sins. . . .
Not only do we know that a man can forgive sins - because Jesus Christ is that Man - and not only do we know that Jesus Himself gave that power to other men, but we also know, even psychologically, why Jesus created that sacrament the way He did. . . . as a human, a personal, connection in order to restore a broken relationship. . . .
He created the sacrament of Confession, and He gave the Church this power because you need it. I need it! Because I'm human! It's my nature, it's how He made me.
You cannot receive all of the graces that you need if you do not go to Confession to the priest. You can't.
A Letter from Bishop Jugis:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Christ, our hope, has risen. Peace be with you.
Like Thomas in today’s Gospel, surrounded by a world of doubts and uncertainties, we have experienced the Lord in our midst, and proclaim with Easter joy, “My Lord and my God!”
This past year Pope Francis invited us to participate in a global synodal process in which we shared our faith, fears, hopes, and concerns. Although the national Catholic participation rate was only slightly above 1%, the Diocese of Charlotte exceeded the national average. After prayerful discernment and having listened to the lay faithful and the clergy of the diocese, I would like to share with you six pastoral priorities moving forward.
First and foremost, I earnestly desire all to renew and anchor their lives in the Most Holy Eucharist. Busy lives bombarded by distracting and worldly messages can only truly find the peace for which they yearn in the paschal mystery.
Second, while strengthening our communion with Christ, we must in turn allow Him to strengthen the communion within our families and the Church. Unlike the secular world in which we live, the Church cannot allow herself to be fractured by partisanship. The forces that seek to divide are not greater than the Holy Spirit who unites. We must follow Our Lord who prayed at the Last Supper, “that they may be one, as we are one.”
Third, as a family of faith we must inspire the youth to find their home in the Church. Inherently drawn to authenticity, it is our responsibility to speak to the meaning of a true Christian life.
Fourth, in a time of moral confusion, we must inspire lives of personal holiness highlighting the beauty of chaste love.
Fifth, we must learn to proclaim the faith in a digital age, that we may better evangelize a culture teeming with secular and contrary messages.
Sixth, we must meet the challenges of an ever-growing diocese. In just 50 years the Diocese of Charlotte has grown from 34,000 Catholics in 75 parishes to more than 500,000 Catholics in 92 parishes and missions spread across 46 counties.
As a diocesan family, relying upon the grace and mercy of God, I ask for your help as I shepherd the diocese to meet the challenges of our day. Finally, I entrust these pastoral priorities to the maternal care of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, our diocesan patroness.
May the peace and joy of Easter be with you all.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Bishop of Charlotte April 16, 2023
Acts 2:14, 22-33; Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11; 1 Pt 1:17-21; Lk 24:13-35
Homily begins at 24:47