CAMPUS PADRE Offers food for thought
Reflections on the LIE that I have NOTHING to CONFESS and therefore, NO NEED OF GOD'S MERCY & FORGIVENESS
The Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus challenges us all to be steadfast in our commitment answering his universal call to holiness or face the very real and eternal consequences of our choices. He also affirms the words of Ezekiel, that “when the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.” In drawing the contrast between the religious leaders of his time and the tax collectors and prostitutes, he affirms that those who listen to the call to ‘repent and believe’ are those who let themselves be transformed by God. They, who change their ways of acting and thinking according to the ‘mind of God’, are the ones who enter the Kingdom of God.
None of us can pretend to have never been lost and none of us can deny our initial and ongoing need for the mercy of God. Only complacency about our relationship with God, could lead us to think otherwise. Our life experience affirms that we do fall away from our commitment to Christ. Our faith experience also affirms, insofar as we are honest about our sinfulness, that no matter how far we have strayed from the way, the truth and the life, it is never too late to turn back, as long as we have breath to call upon God’s mercy and forgiveness.
To ‘repent and believe’, whether for the first time or every time after, is not just a moment when we say we are sorry and move on. That contrite heart must also have the clear intention and determination to change with the help of God’s grace to avoid “the near occasion of sin”, to ‘go and sin no more’. That intention and determination can not only be supported by prayer and hope. It must also involve openness to healing and greater self-understanding. We must understand what it means to say that sin is a violation of our nature as human beings. We must come to understand our humanity through understanding Christ and we must measure our actions against Love, which we clearly see demonstrated in the words and actions of Christ and the Saints.
We were created with the freedom to do good or to do evil. We are free to choose life or death in all our actions and we are also responsible for the outcome of our choices. Although we like to blame God when the consequences of the sins of others and of our own lead to pain and suffering, Ezekiel reminds us that those who blame the Lord for their destructive path and decisions are only deluding themselves.
Christ himself shows us the way of profound obedience to the Father which leads to the fullness of our humanity and holiness. Our choice, which is always before us, is to accept and do what is right, holy and just or to deny and rebel against our nature and our God. It is a difficult path, but it is the most fulfilling one.
St Paul truly believed that by our love for one another the world will come to know and love Jesus Christ.
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.