Biblical Roots of the Sacraments
On the Second Sunday of Easter, from the Gospel of St. John, we read about the Biblical roots of the Sacraments:
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” -John 20:20-23, NAB
In this amazing verse, we see that Jesus gave the Apostles the ability to forgive sins on His behalf. It is the very basis for the Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation. Obviously, Jesus did not intend for His work to end with Him, He wanted it to continue for generations to come.
In another reading from this weekend’s Masses, from the book of Acts, we read about other work being done by the Apostles:
Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles… A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured. -Acts 5:12,16, NAB
Acts shows us the Apostles healing the sick, among other miracles, and it is now the basis for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. In one weekend’s verses, we see Biblical basis for two of the most contested and controversial sacraments. For anyone doubting the Biblical roots of the Sacraments, and our beloved Tradition, look no further.
The Apostles shared these gifts for generations, passing them on to their successors (whom we know today as our bishops). The work of Christ continues today, and our bishops are assisted by our priests and deacons to continue the work that Jesus started two millennia ago.
The Biblical roots of the Sacraments run deep, and we should thank God each day that Christ instituted them so long ago to continue His mission today.