The risen Lord commissions his disciples to continue his work with the encouraging words ;
‘Peace be with you’.
‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you’.
Jesus gives them the same authority that he himself received from his Father as they are sent out to proclaim the New Covenant. He ordains these few disciples to be the human priests through whom he, the true high priest, will mediate his peace and the grace of his sacraments.
He instructs them to forgive sin, in his name, in the sacrament we call reconciliation or confession … ‘
Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. ‘
Those whose sins you retain, they are retained’.
In this wonderful sacrament, by confessing our sins to a priest and desiring to make amends, we experience the forgiveness, healing, mercy, and compassion of Jesus. In the consoling words of absolution we are given new hope and set free from the regrets and mistakes of the past.
We just celebrated the Lord’s resurrection. The human body that Jesus received in the womb of the virgin Mary is now raised and glorified. Amazingly, the divinity and the glorified humanity of Jesus becomes present on the altar through the action of the priest every time Holy Mass is celebrated. When we eat his body and drink his blood we make the goal of the New Covenant a reality. That communion is the love, peace, healing, forgiveness and new life that restores relationships with God and each other.
Jesus is constantly calling people to share his ministry in the ordained priesthood. Is God calling you or someone you know? Speaking to young people in 2013 Pope Francis reflected;
‘If I feel drawn to Jesus, if his voice warms my heart, it is thanks to God the Father who has sown within me the desire for love, for truth, for life, for beauty… and Jesus is all this in fullness! I would like to ask you: have you sometimes heard the Lord’s voice, in a desire, in a worry, did he invite you to follow him more closely? Have you heard him? Ask Jesus what he wants of you and be brave! Be brave! Ask him this!
Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community…. This is why Jesus said: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest”, that is, God the Father, “to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38). Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit.’ (Pope Francis)