“He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

I feel compelled to speak to you with the clarity that flows from the Word of God and the Deposit of Faith entrusted to our beautiful Catholic Church. As your shepherd, my heart aches for all that is happening in the Church and in this world through which God’s people must journey. I know we face many confusions about the connections between sin, repentance, our Eucharistic Lord and what it means to be a faithful Catholic, but the words of 1 Peter remind us of the direct connection between the saving ministry of Jesus Christ and the sinful burden which the world carries. The reality that “He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross” makes it abundantly clear that the coming of the Son of God into the world is a confrontation with sin which has dominated the human story since the fall of Adam and Eve. Even now, in the twenty-first century, we constantly confront the reality of sin and the death it brings.

Christ, through his sacraments, helps us confront the realities of sin so that we may, one day, enjoy everlasting life with him in heaven. When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, the real presence of Jesus under the forms of bread and wine in Communion, we are making a statement with our “amen” that we believe he has overcome sin and death. Our steadfast faith in the real presence of Christ highlights the reality that it is “his body” which has overcome sin. Receiving Communion at Holy Mass is one of the most profound ways we can say, “Lord I love you.” To simultaneously ignore his commandments whether it be “thou shall not have false gods before me, thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal” or any of his other commandments, is to place ourselves on a contradictory path of grave sin. The wonder of God’s loving call in each of our lives is that he leaves us free to choose to receive Him in the Eucharist, but it is incumbent on each of us to choose honestly, faithfully, prudently and with spiritual and moral consistency to do so.

Continue reading Bishop Strickland’s statement here.

By Bishop Joseph E. Strickland

Bishop Strickland was born the sixth child of Raymond and Monica Strickland in 1958. He grew up near Atlanta, Texas, where the Strickland’s were founding members of St. Catherine of Siena Church. On June 1, 1985, Strickland was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Dallas by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe at St. Monica Catholic Church. Upon the creation of the Diocese of Tyler in 1987, Father Strickland joined the presbyterate of the new diocese and was named the first vocation director in March of 1987 by Bishop Charles Herzig. In August of 1992, he was assigned to study canon law at Catholic University of America. After completing his licentiate (JCL) in canon law in May of 1994, Father Strickland was assigned by Bishop Edmond Carmody as pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler. He was appointed judicial vicar for the diocese in 1995 and was named a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1996. In September of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Strickland as the fourth Bishop of Tyler. He was consecrated as bishop on November 28, 2012 by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.