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10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sin against the Holy Spirit
We have meditated upon it over Pentecost and on the feast of the Blessed Trinity and again this Sunday the Holy Spirit is directly referred to in the Gospel. It's one of the questions I always remember asking myself when I was a young lad. What is this sin, this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that can never be forgiven?
The answer is very simple the sin, the blasphemy is an attitude which rejects or refuses to accept the Holy Spirit. In the gospel the scribes were saying that Jesus' work was done by the power of Beelzebul, the Devil, they were saying the Holy Spirit is the Devil.
But why is this particular sin unforgivable? Jesus says all other blasphemies and sins can be forgiven. The answer takes us back to what we spoke of on Pentecost and the Feast of the Trinity.
God, the Holy Spirit
Remember we said that amongst the ways of coming to some understanding of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is to think of the Father giving everything including his Divinity, his God-ness to the Son, and the Son receiving this gift and returning it with such love to the Father, and this gift which is given and received is itself God - the Holy Spirit, we also said that the Holy Spirit can be seen as the space between the Father and the Son, the place where the gift is given and received, a place or a person which is the heart of the loving exchange between Father and Son. We spoke also of the Holy Spirit as being the act of speaking, when the Father is the speaker and the Son the Word which is the perfect expression of what the Father wants to say.
And so we could begin to see that it is the Holy Spirit communicated to us by the Father and Son which is our sharing in the divine life and love at the heart of God, it is the Holy Spirit which makes us part of the divine communication, enabling us to pray with Jesus, in Jesus and through Jesus to the a Father. Full of the Holy Spirit we become a gift of love received from the Father and offered to the Father with Jesus above all at Holy Mass. And it is precisely the Holy Spirit, which is the complete loving self gift of the Father to the Son which the Son pours out as he shares all he has received from the Father with us. Everything Jesus does and is and reveals to us is what he has been given by the Father. It is inseparable from Holy Spirit.
Where the Spirit is working, we always see faith and hope and love, we see people doing the will of God
Why can't the sin against the Holy Spirit be forgiven?
OK - so we need perhaps to pick that apart and meditate upon it, you can get the sermon on the parish website, but what it means is that to reject the Holy Spirit, (or worse to say the Holy Spirit is the Devil) is to reject the loving gift of the Father, to reject communication with God, to reject all the Son, Jesus, reveals, it is to reject the possibility of love and consequently to reject the possibility of forgiveness. If you reject the light you will never see anything.
The sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven because it is to reject forgiveness itself and indeed to reject the possibility of forgiveness.
So does anyone ever commit this sin?
If someone went to confession and confessed this sin - a priest might say (I would say) you have not committed this sin, you may have committed a sin - but not this sin - the very fact you have come to seek forgiveness from God shows that the Holy Spirit is working in you and you have not rejected that Spirit but you still have hope in God's love and mercy.
No one who has committed this sin would come to confession - why would they? They don't value God's forgiveness, they have rejected its possibility, they probably think they don't need it. It's something to pray hard about - especially perhaps for friends and family members. For example there may be many reasons why they never go to mass, never go to confession never seem to take account of God. We should pray hard that in his mercy God will not allow them to commit the unforgivable sin.
Where the Spirit is working, we always see faith and hope and love, we see people doing the will of God, it is the work of the Spirit especially through the example of his wife and family that has brought Stuart to seek fully communion with the Catholic Church. I now invite Stuart and your family to come forward.