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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

EASTER MESSAGE: Repentance for the Forgiveness of Sins.

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Third Sunday of Easter, April 19, 2015
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”(Acts 3:19)

As we come together this Sunday, only a few weeks after the celebration of Easter, we are
Eucharistic Image of Divine Mercy
 given the opportunity to meditate on what the message of Easter is all about: Repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles 3: 13-19, we see that Peter is a changed man. Peter is the one, who on the night of Jesus’ passion and death, denied Our Lord three times saying that he did not know Him. Now, we hear that Peter is boldly and fearlessly preaching in the name of Jesus. He is confronting those who were complicit in Jesus’ death, telling the people that they had indeed put to death the Author of Life. Peter announces to the people that they acted out of ignorance and that they need to be converted.

Peter says, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Peter himself is a perfect example of one who sinned, repented and now he is committed to his call as an apostle to proclaim our Lord’s message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 24:35-48), we hear that our Lord Jesus appears to His disciples in the upper room after His Resurrection from the Dead.

Our Lord says, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24:46-48)
My brothers and sisters, today’s message of repentance is at the heart of what Easter
Fr. John Paul Shea
really means for each one of us.

Ever since humanity fell through original sin, we have become deprived of who we are called to be. We have turned away from God. But God has not turned away from us. He has sent us His Son who came in our flesh, suffered, died and rose from dead. Our Lord appeared to His disciples, and He told them to proclaim repentance for the forgiveness of sins throughout the world until He comes again.

This call of repentance has been the message of our Church for the past two thousand years. Yet, as our world moves ever closer to the second coming of our Lord, this message of repentance is becoming even more urgent. We can see this urgency today in many ways through the brokenness all around us. We can also hear the need for our repentance, among other ways, through the lives of the saints.

Just last Sunday our Church celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. As many of you know Divine Mercy is a devotion given to the Church through Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.

She was a young, uneducated, nun who lived Poland during the 1930's. She came from a very poor family and had only three years of very simple education. However, Saint
St Faustina had extraordinary visions
of Jesus, Divine Mercy 
Faustina received extraordinary revelations from Our Lord Jesus. He asked her to record these revelations in a diary, known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina.

Saint Faustina lived in a critical time -- during the advent of World War II. And before her death in 1938, she predicted that "there will be [another] war, a terrible, terrible war," and asked the nuns to pray for Poland.

Overall, the messages of Saint Faustina
seem to indicate urgency in Our Lord’s message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. God knew that the wars and violence and dangers would continue to escalate and that the message of repentance would be ever more needed today.

In one of His messages to Saint Faustina Jesus says, “Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the doors of My mercy. He
Image of Jesus Divine Mercy 
who refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy must pass through the doors of My justice...” While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy.”

In another vision in 1935, Saint Faustina writes:

"I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment...."

The following day an inner voice taught Saint Faustina to say the prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I would recommend all Catholics to learn and pray this prayer. As some of you know, when we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we repeat the words, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

In these words we are asking God to intervene in our lives and in our world so that we and as many persons possible will heed
our Lord’s call of repentance. We are begging our Lord to give us more time so that more persons will convert their lives to God before his justice descends upon the Earth.

My brothers and sisters, Our Lord is coming again… Our Lord is coming as a just judge. We must never forget this. But He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants to save us because He is merciful. Now is the time for mercy! Let us accept His mercy while there is still time. Let us repent and be converted, so that our sins may be wiped away.

Did you enjoy this piece. Fr. John Paul Shea has written more! See: Who is Fr. John Paul Shea: From Mormon to Catholic Priest


  1. I really like your idea....:)

  2. Thank you for your comment, and enjoying Fr. Shea's sermon It'sgy. God bless you. Susan Fox