#Article (Archive)

Unless we repent:

Mar 13, 2013, 11:15 AM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

During the holy season of Lent, God is calling all of us to a total change of heart and a radical renunciation of our sins. No practice that we embark on this time around could serve as an alternative to the answer of this firm invitation of God. It therefore follows that whatever our Lenten practice is, it could be viewed as authentic to the extent it helps us to achieve the much desired change of heart. May these sections of the scripture help us in our bid to march in the path of true repentance: Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15, Psalm 102, 1Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 and the gospel of St. Luke 13:1-9. 

We have all go our personal and family histories that talk much about God’s love and faithfulness. The Israelites of old were a people whose history showed very well that whatever positive that was achieved in them was effected by the God of the covenant whose mercy and faithfulness endures forever. At the point in which they evolved into a nation in Egypt, they were in a state of abject misery, of nothingness and horrible slavery. It was at this initial, but hopeless stage of their national history that Moses encountered God in the wilderness of Mount Horeb. As he encountered Him, he promised him to liberate His people of suffering and slavery.  Moreover, he traced His faithfulness and love to the beginning of their history, when the whole nation was only in a single Patriarch Abraham.  The dialogue that ensured between God and Moses that day and the aftermath of it happened in such a way that later in their lives, they would never have any reason not to be faithful to the God of salvation. This is an account of dialogue:  “And the Lord said, ‘I have seen the miserable state of My people in Egypt, I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave drivers.  Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings, I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them up out to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow. Then Moses said to God: I am to go, then to the sons of Israel say to them ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’.  But if they ask me what His name is, what am I to tell them? And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who that I Am”. This He added is what you must say to the sons of Israel: The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me”.  (Exodus 3:7-15).

So the God that appeared to Moses in the burning bush is a God who never change, a God who keeps His covenant and love, a God who is to the Israelites of today, what He was to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of yesterday.  For this, the Psalmist blesses Him in these words: “My soul give thanks to the Lord, all my being, bless His holy name. My soul gives thanks to the Lord and never forgets all His blessings. It is He who forgives all your guilt, who heals everyone of your ills, who redeems your lives from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion”. (Psalm 102:1-4).  Now all these blessings and love of God are meant to teach and help us think aright. In the course of their forty years pilgrimage and their whole national history, God forgave the people of Israel their offenses and rained His blessings upon them despite their unfaithfulness, times without number.  Through His faithfulness He was trying to guide them to love, by His sincerity of purpose and action, He was trying to root out their lives, all forms of insincerity.  They were meant to learn and change their ways, for God’s patience is not meant to be forever.  In all, God has loved us and taught us at length, born with us and waited for us.  Today, repentance must take place, lest His judgement overtake us.  Today, the scripture reminds us of the lives of the Israelites of old and the end that the unrepentant ones among them met.  This is said to be a lesson for us.  Listen:  “I want to remind you brothers, How our fathers were all guided by a cloud above them and how they passed through the sea, all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink. In spite of these, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered in the desert. These things all happened as warning for us not to have the wicked just for forbidden things that they had”. (1Corinthinas 10:1-6).

Now the message of Christ for us on these days of Lent, is nothing but a message of radical repentance.  God has invested so much on us and has waited for us for so long a period that if we fail to repent today, there is no kind of consequence that we should consider to be very grave.  When people brought Him the sad news of the Galileans that Pilate slaughtered as they were offering sacrifice, He told them that neither the fate that these Galileans met with nor the sad end of the eighteen on whom the tower Siloam fell and killed them is too much for any sinner, “Unless you repent”  He said:  “You will like wise perish”.  (Luke 13:5)