Sincere Repentance

Sunday, June 9, 2024
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Readings for Today

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“Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:28–30

Jesus spoke these words to the crowds who had gathered around His home in Capernaum because two groups of people had just spoken very critically of Him in a public way. First, some of His extended family arrived and said to everyone, “He is out of his mind.” And then some of the scribes from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul.” Thus, Jesus states clearly that their blasphemy is a sin against the Holy Spirit and will have everlasting consequences.

Why is it that certain sins will never be forgiven? What exactly is a sin against the Holy Spirit? Traditionally, our Church has identified this sin in a couple of ways. First, it is a sin of final impenitence, that is, the sin of obstinately persisting in grave sin. Obstinacy, or the refusal to repent, is a sin that cannot be forgiven, simply because the person committing it never seeks forgiveness. They become so entrenched in their sin that they refuse to change. Thus, the mercy of God is incapable of entering into them. Second, it has also been identified as presumption, meaning a person sins while expecting God to forgive. Presumption is more subtle; however, it also has the effect of keeping a person from the sincere repentance that is needed for forgiveness. The presumptuous person never fully repents and amends their life as long as they remain in their sin.

Of all the many sins you struggle with or might struggle with in the future, pay special attention to the sins against the Holy Spirit. Though we should never think we have a right to God’s forgiveness, we must always believe that God’s mercy is so great that the moment we humbly acknowledge our sin and sincerely repent of it, God will forgive. But the key is “sincerity.” In order to be forgiven, the repentance within us must be sincere, authentic, real and complete. We cannot fool God. We can certainly fool ourselves, but not God.

One of the best ways to regularly be certain that you are not guilty of any sin against the Holy Spirit is by going to the Sacrament of Confession and confessing your sins with openness, thoroughness and humility. Own your sin. Acknowledge it. Experience sorrow for it. Resolve to change. Then confess it and trust in God’s mercy.

Reflect, today, upon any way that you lack sincerity and thoroughness in your repentance from sin. Are you honest with yourself about the sins you have committed? Have you taken ownership of those sins? If so, have you also confessed them to God and firmly resolved never to commit them again? Take repentance seriously so that you never even begin to fall down the slippery slope that leads to any sin against the Holy Spirit.

Most merciful Lord, You offer forgiveness to all who come to You with humility and sincere sorrow. Please fill me with these virtues and give me the resolve to change as I open myself to Your unfathomable mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Scripture Meditations for Ordinary Time

Saints/Feasts for Today

Saint of the Day – Saint Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor
Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday

Mass Reading Options

Featured image above: Jesus Tempted by Carl Bloch, via picryl