Monday, January 23, 2012
Today's gospel ends with Matt. Chapter 3 "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
Taken out of the larger context of the gospels, this is one of the best examples of a bible verse that can easily be misinterpreted.
One could look at this single verse and walk away with the notion that there is some kind of utterance against the Holy Spirit, that once said could never be revoked. Once you utter this blasphemy, you are condemned to hell.
Here we need the 2000 years of tradition to help us. Here we need the magisterium of the Church to guide us in understanding the scriptures.
Regarding this sin the Catechism says, "There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss."
There is no unforgivable sin. There is only the freedom to reject God's mercy. If we reject God's mercy, if we reject the salvation offered by God, what is God to do? Force Us. The gift- mercy, eternal life, the Holy Spirit is constantly being offered by God to all, but it is precisely that, a gift that we choose to accept or reject.
The good news is, short of that, there is nothing we can say or do that is unforgivable. Think of the most heinous crimes you can imagine. They are all forgivable. That is the God of Christianity.
Can we treat each other with the same mercy we receive from God?