In the last post, the link is made between the the Sacrament of Holy Repentance and the re-institution of the Kingdom of God on earth. Mercy sanctifies the soul and protects from hell but Mercy is also the institutional foundation of the Church. Mathew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. Peter’s sin was at the very least denial of the kingdom during the trial of the our Lord by earthly authorities. The crucifixion and resurrection is all about the rebuilding of the temple in three days as prophesied by Jesus in John 2:13-25. When Peter realized his sin, he repented with a spirit of contrition and remorse. Later, after the resurrection, Jesus asks him to respond to His question “Do you love Me?” three times (John 21). Notice that this approach parallels the repetitive nature of the prescribed penance by the priest in the Sacrament , a practice often ridiculed by those inside and outside the Church. The prescribed penance is not a punishment for the sin, but a medicine to heal the soul.
Between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus appeared to His disciples primarily on the first day of the week (Sunday, See Matthew 28:1). After the ascension, Jesus appears through Sacrament, also primarily on the first day of the week meetings (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2) which is Sunday Liturgy. This was enacted during and after the multiplication of the loaves, when after the blessing, Jesus asks the apostles to distribute the bread (Matthew 14:13-18). He visits the assembly, then appears like a “Ghost” to the apostles (Mathew 14:25). This enacts the appearance of Christ Himself to the people (His physical Presence in the meal) and the power of Holy Ghost to the apostles. Similarly, the power to forgive sins is given to His apostles (John 20:22). So since the ascension, the instrument of confession is primarily the priest. Just as David received mercy through the prophet Nathan.
This “engine” that defines the Church cannot operate by denying or changing the definitions of sin. There are shepherds in the Church who believe that ignoring and denying sin is the way to proclaim God’s Mercy. This is like proposing a new solution for disease by denying treatment and amounts to exactly the diminution of the Church and the amplification of evil.
Hence we have some background behind the messages from Fatima, the practices of Lent, and the general benefits of frequent visits to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Institution of God is established. Thy Kingdom Come. Counterfeit institutions slowly go away.
“Enter into the Church and wash away your sins. For this is a hospital for sinners and not a court of law”
Saint John Chrysostom