Scripture Reading: Luke 19:1-9

During Easter, the church called us to repentance.  Today, the Holy Spirit leads us to examine the issue of true repentance. Repentance occurs in the heart; followed by the manifestation of such repentance through godly actions. The fruit of repentance is lacking in many churches today and this is the reason why we have a lot of people in the church, in places of impact and change and yet no positive impact is been made in the society we live.  Pope Francis worried about this trend of incomplete repentance had to re-catechize us thus, “If you don’t listen to the Lord, if you don’t accept correction and if you do not trust Him, your heart has not yet repented.” A child of God does not need to tell people that he or she has repented, the fruit or result of repentance would be seen by the way he or she speaks and acts. Your action defines the kind of repentance you claim to have.  Zacchaeus truly repented immediately he sought to pay back all those he had cheated, “Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.” (Verse 8)

 St. Augustine of Hippo is our model to reflect upon when talking about what follows after a true repentance. As soon as he repented, he progressed spiritually till he attained the desired spiritual excellence that made the Church recognize him as a veritable vessel of God whose messages, teachings and inspirational quotes have made valuable contributions toward the growth of the church of Christ.  Consider how it would have been if St. Augustine went back to the evil ways he had forsaken.   Dear Friend in Christ your repentance should lead to God.  St Paul is another epitome of a child of God who truly repented; as soon as he declared for Jesus, neither temptations, trials nor tribulations could not stop him, he did not shift grounds despite the ordeals he suffered as a servant of Christ. Hear his ordeals in 2 Corinthians 11-23b-29, “….I have been in prison more times, I have been whipped much more, and I have been near death more often.  Five times I was given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews; three times I was whipped by the Romans; and once I was stoned. I have been in three shipwrecks, and once I spent twenty-four hours in the water.  In my many travels I have been in danger from floods and from robbers, in danger from my own people and from Gentiles; there have been dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilds, dangers on the high seas, and dangers from false friends. There has been work and toil; often I have gone without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty; I have often been without enough food, shelter, or clothing. And not to mention other things, every day I am under the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  When someone is weak, then I feel weak too; when someone is led into sin, I am filled with distress.”  This same Paul declares in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith.”  Are you among those who go to the Confessional to confess sins that you have not resolved to forsake? The Lord says that it is not repentance but hypocrisy.  Do you approach the Lord’s table as a cover-up pretending to be holy person.St. Thomas Aquinas has this to say to us, “To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done, and to do no evil to bewail.” 2 Peter 2:20-22 warns us thus,  “If people have escaped from the corrupting forces of the world through their knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are again caught and conquered by them, such people are in worse condition at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been much better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred command that was given them.  What happened to them shows that the proverbs are true: “A dog goes back to what it has vomited” and “A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud.”

Prayer Points:

  1. Thank God for this bright new day.
  2. Tell God something about your life. If there are areas of your life that need divine touch for change, tell it to Jesus now.  He will do a new thing in your life.
  3. Pray for all those who pretend to be true children of God that they will now sort to seek the Lord in truth and in spirit.

Exercise: Take the prayer of St. Padre Pio, twice meditatively today