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Opinion

May we heed the call to repentance

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

The readings of the Mass of Wednesday of the first week of Lent, which this year falls on February 21, invites us to heed the call to repentance and conversion. This need for repentance and conversion is actually a constant need of ours. But given the temper of the times, this call has become very urgent and most necessary, because it looks like it is largely ignored.

In the first reading from the Book of Jonah (3,1-10), we are told about how Jonah was asked by the Lord to warn the great city of Nineveh of an impending destruction that would be wrought on it for some serious reason by the Lord. And the city, from the king down, went through a serious process of repentance and conversion.

And in the responsorial psalm, we are assured that “a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” (Ps 51,17) This assurance should encourage us to go through the process of repentance and conversion as soon as possible, no matter how tedious and challenging, considering it as all worthwhile.

The gospel of the day (cfr. Lk 11,29-32) talks about Christ complaining about “this generation is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” He must have been referring to the hard-headedness of the people of that time with respect to the need for repentance and conversion.

And we can say that the same hard-headedness can be observed also these days when many of us are so trapped in our earthly and temporal affairs that not only do we ignore the need to refer everything to God, but also deny the need for it.

Many of us would readily say, “What’s wrong with what I’m doing? I’m doing nothing wrong since I’m just looking to earn money, trying to develop my career. My all-time interest in the new technologies is for pursuing what is good for myself and my family, etc.” There can be many other rationalizations.

What’s obvious is that many of us fail to realize that everything we do here should be for the glory of God, and not just for our own interest. We fail to realize that we are falling to pure self-indulgence.

We should never say that we are already good enough. As long as we are still in this world, there is no level in our spiritual life that can be considered as good enough. It’s time we remind ourselves of that old saying, ‘the good is the enemy of the best.’

We need to move on always, to continue conquering new frontiers in our spiritual life which is a matter of growing in our love for God and for others. Let’s avoid falling into self-indulgence, complacency and lukewarmness. These will put a stop, or at least to divert us, in our continuing journey toward our eternal home and they do it with lulling and most tricky appeal.

With love, there is actually no limit. It will continue to make new demands on us, because life itself will also make new challenges and trials on us. Let’s never forget that our life will always be some kind of warfare. We have to contend with many enemies of our soul.

With every conversion we make, we get closer to God, we grow in his divine wisdom and goodness. No doubt, we get to gain a lot more than what we seem to lose every time we make a conversion.

We should always feel the need for repentance and conversion, and especially during this Lenten Season.

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HINTS AND TRACES

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