Repent

READINGS: EXODUS 3:1-8A, 13-15; I COR. 10: 1-6, 10-12; LUKE 13: 1-9.

Lent is moving along and here we are at the third week. What can we say? It is unlikely, though not impossible that anyone has had a radical life-changing experience or witnessed a life changed in a ‘twinkling of the eye’. But those of us with some life experience know that life generally does not work that way. It is slow- even as our world increasingly speeds up due to technology and media.

So how does this concern anyone during this Third Sunday of Lent?

Today the Gospel of Luke starkly warns us: “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” Not a cheerful message and not the image of Jesus which we normally cherish. This is no sweet-talking savior but One who is painfully aware of human nature, its potentialities, and serious limitations. This warning was not just intended for Jews of the First Century but one that echoes throughout time. As humans, we are blessed but also seriously blinded by our selfishness, tendency to sin, and unwillingness to see reality (especially the reality of ourselves). So, what do we do? Ignore the counsel or relativize it as unimportant to us today or despair of our own situation?

Jesus’ counsel is that we need to repent- to turn away from what destroys life (which is what sin is) to embrace the Love and Mercy of God. But unlike our rapid hyper-technological world this turning away is a slow, lifelong process. We are like the Titanic- we can shift our lives but turning around to head towards God is a slow, often painful process. Change of heart, surrendering our life to God, and abandoning sin does not happen overnight.

That may seem to be a hard message but there is Good News. God is always willing to help us, to give us grace and support to slowly change our lives. If we ask, if we want and if we dare.

So, this Third Sunday of Lent let us ask the Lord what part of our life needs conversion and appeal for grace to do so.

During Lent please support the doctors of MDA whose healing ministry brings change to the world’s poorest. God bless you and Happy Third Sunday of Lent.

Br. John Kiesler, OFM

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