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God's gift to his Church

"'The forgiveness of sins.' If this did not exist in the Church, there would be no hope. If there were no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of a future life and eternal liberation. Thanks be to God who gave his Church this gift."You are about to come to the holy fountain; you will be washed by baptism; you will be renewed by the bath of regeneration; and you will be without sin when you come up out of that bath. All those past things that were pursuing you will be destroyed there. Your sins were like the Egyptians following the Israelites, pursuing them right to the Red Sea. What does that mean: right to the Red Sea? Right to the fountain consecrated by the cross and blood of Christ. What is red makes red.... If you see the cross, notice the blood, too. If you see what is hanging there, notice what is flowing there. The side of Christ was pierced by a lance and our price flowed out. Baptism is marked with the mark of Christ, that is, the water by which you were dyed and as it were passed through the Red Sea. Your sins are your enemies. They follow you, but only up to the sea. When you will enter that sea, you will escape and those sins will be destroyed, just as while the Israelites were escaping on to dry lang, water covered the Egyptians. And what does Scripture say? 'Not one of them remained' (Ps 105[106], 11). Whether you sinned many times or sinned few times, whether you sinned greatly or sinned slightly: not even the least of them remains."But because our victory is in this world, where no one lives without sin, the forgiveness of sins does not consist only in the washing of sacred Baptism, but also in the daily Lords Prayer that you will receive in eight days. In that prayer you will find as it were your daily baptism, and you will give thaks to God who gave this gift to his Church, the one we confess in the Symbol when, after saying 'holy Church,' we add: the forgiveness of sins.'" (Augustine, Sermon 215, 8, PL 38, 1065)

About the Author

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.



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"Your sins were like the Egyptians following the Israelites, pursuing them right to the Red Sea. What does that mean: right to the Red Sea? Right to the fountain consecrated by the cross and blood of Christ."What an insight. In the rite of baptism for infants, the blessing of the baptismal water includes a reference to the waters of the Red Sea, through which God's people were led out of slavery in Egypt. But this is a bit different: seeing our sins as Egyptians pursuing us.

I get the part about our sins being our enemies. Sins make us spiritually unclean and if unrepented may lead to further more serious sins which make us physically unclean. But, as I recall, the Israelites passed through the red sea without getting wet. How were they dyed red?

Fr. Komonchak: Because you are such a big fan of Augustine, I hope that you have read David Brooks' column in the New York Times about the Donatists and Augustine. Yes, the occasion for his column is the new Roman Catholic pope, Pope Francis. But David Brooks manages to work in the discussion of the Donatists and Augustine -- and score some points against certain Republicans in the process. His analogies between historical events and certain contemporary events are worth pondering on.

Fascinating column by David Brooks. We have been touting the Jesuit pope with a Franciscan name and now Brooks is making him into an Augustinian. Has anyone found a connection of Pope Francis with the Dominicans or the Carmelites?

Yes God Gift his Church to us. We should care Church and come to pray to God because I believe God is very close in Church. I have seen some people who don’t give value to Church which is not good or may due to lake of education. I agree with you Church is God’s gift for us. gift basket Hong Kong

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