December 4, 2022 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/120422.cfm)
“Repent and Believe the Gospel”, sounds familiar? When was the last time we heard those words? We usually hear those familiar words during Ash Wednesday, when we receive the ashes to mark the beginning of our Lenten observance.
This call for repentance and faith is the first challenge Jesus posts on us when He preached to us God’s kingdom. All His life has been dedicated to preach to us the Good News that God’s kingdom and Word are upon us. And the first response expected of us is “to repent and believe the Gospel”, i.e., the call for repentance and faith.
Once again, we hear the same call to repentance and faith as forewarned by John the Baptist in today’s gospel. “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand”. Same message and challenge is presented to us: Since the Lord at hand is coming, Repent and Believe in Him then.
But what does repentance and faith mean? What does it mean to repent and believe in the Gospel? What does it require? What do we have to do?
To repent and believe, First, we should realize that “there is something wrong here” i.e., something is missing or lacking, or something out of sync or tune “yabag” happening in one’s life. Second, we realize and admit that “I am the one who is wrong here” and that there is no point of blaming others. Third, we admit that “I need to change and I need help” recognizing God’s mercy and the assistance of others. Fourth, we make a resolution that “I want and choose to be better than this”. And lastly, we commit to someone and something good and better in life, i.e., we declare “I believe in God”.
The challenge of repentance and faith requires then the realization that “There is something wrong”, the admission that “I am wrong”, the recognition that “I need help and need to change”, the resolution that “I want and choose to be better”, and the declaration that “I believe in God”.
Somehow It is like a special person is going to visit in your house soon. You realize how messy your house is, and start to worry how to welcome your special guest. Then you begin to realize & admit that it is not only your house, but moreso yourself is at mess. Then you try to do something and ask for help. In doing so, you resolve to make your house and yourself better because you now believe that your special guest look up to you and you guest’s visit will give you a chance to make life meaningful and better.
Somehow, repentance and faith also remind us of Peter and Judas Iscariot. Both are apostles of Jesus, even the most beloved and trusted disciples (leader-treasurer), and have sinned against the Lord (denied-betrayed). What is the difference between them? Judas killed himself. He did not wait for the risen Lord to resurrect. He did not give the Lord a chance to love and forgive him again. While Peter waited for the risen Lord. And thus gave the Lord, a chance to love and forgive him, and himself a chance to be loved & forgiven by the Lord again and anew.
To repent and believe in the Gospel, then is our way of giving the Lord the chance to love and forgive us again and anew. It is all about giving God as well as yourself and others another chance in life.
The sacrament of reconciliation – popularly known as confession is our Catholic faith and our church way of expressing our repentance and faith. During this Advent Season, we are encouraged to go to confession as our way of repentance and faith to God so that the Lord have a chance to love and forgive us again and anew.
Last Sunday, on the first Sunday of Advent, we are challenged to “Stay Awake and Be Prepared for He is coming”, today we are challenged to “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand”.
As we once again open our eyes, ears, minds & heart’s to prepare for the Lord’s coming into our lives, in our faith & repentance, may we always “repent and believe in the Gospel” so that His kingdom of love and forgiveness have a new chance to be with us again in our daily lives now & always. Amen.