Updated: Oct 20, 2021
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Bible tells us that God will hold everyone responsible and accountable for their sins. This is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that we cannot blame others and circumstances for our sins; we have to own up to our own failings. The good news is that we are not going to be responsible for anybody else sins. But there is greater good news. This week’s Gospel reading states that the purpose of Christ's death and resurrection is so that “Repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations.” That is to say, sin is no longer able to lead us into hell; what will lead us to damnation is unrepentance. Forgiveness has been guaranteed in the face of repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If only the people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves ….and turn from their sins, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins.” Repentance is the English translation of the Hebrew word, “teshuvah” which means “returning”; a process of correcting the destructive actions of sin by returning to one's true self and walking away from the ego-self needs that caused the destructive action. A perfect example is the story of the Prodigal Son where scripture says, “One day, he came to his senses and said, “I shall return back to my father, and I shall say to him, father, forgive me for I have sinned against heaven and against you”. So, repentance requires a recognition that “I have made a mistake; I have done something wrong; and I have done something that hurt me, another person, or my God.
This simple acknowledgment could be very challenging because our natural inclination is to avoid accepting mistakes so as to protect ourselves from being rejected, abandoned, seen as weak, or even being shamed. But, the relief, freedom, and joy we experience from repentance far outweigh these discomforting elements. Repentance is the only way to repair the spiritual, emotional, and human-God relational rupture that sin can cause. The joy of Easter lies in the fact that the death and resurrection of Christ is a sure banker that we don’t have to be condemned for our own past sins; that past sins do not have to control our future; and that we don’t have to be trapped in a never-ending cycle of sins. Repentance is taking responsibility for my actions and taking positive action to make sure that I am not condemned for it. Repentance is not meant to be a one-time event. Rather it is an ongoing process of conversion. and God has left at our disposal, the Sacrament of Reconciliation—God’s way of constantly offering us the chance to return to him and be forgiven; God’s way of giving us a clean heart and a new spirit. So, let us take God up on His offer for His promises are amen unto us in Christ Jesus.