The Lenten path must lead us to conversion, penance and mercy
“Some people arrived bringing news to Jesus about the Galileans that Pilate had killed, mixing their blood with that of the sacrifices they offered. He replied, ‘Do you think these Galileans were more sinners than any other Galilean, because they suffered such a thing? I tell you, no. But if you do not convert, you will all perish in the same way. What about those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were more guilty than any other resident of Jerusalem? I tell you, no. But if you do not convert, you will all perish in the same way ‘”(Lk 13,1-15).
Someone might even think that this is a police report, with facts that are now commonplace and unable to scare us, such is the frequency of massacres, violence and accidents! But this is a serious proposal for an intelligent, faith-based reaction to events. We cannot get past all the many provocations that come from day to day, without accepting the mysterious and effective message that God really wants to offer us, demanding our reaction. God speaks to us continually and always asks for the same, conversion, a provocative word that means changing your mind and your route.
Everyone must leave confession with joy in their hearts
Change your mindset! The ongoing Fraternity Campaign sends the Christians who participate in it and calls on all people of good will to care for our common home, based on the intriguing theme of basic sanitation. It is striking that it is necessary that those responsible for ecclesiastical life have to go public, almost begging for someone to wake up and take effective measures regarding water care, garbage collection, sanitary sewage and so on. ! They are elements so “hidden” even under the ground, whose care should already be taken for granted by citizens and those responsible for public administration! Only the mind needs to be changed so that the actions correspond to it. The good of others and the common good, in which each of us is included, you must pass in front of the scandalous pleasure of dirtying streets and squares or wasting water or destroying public property! Even more, it will change the banalization of life, vilified and destroyed before everyone’s eyes.
We can go deeper into the question, with the courage to ask society as a whole about the reasons for so much inversion of values! It’s just that we started planting a long time ago. When God is no longer the center and pole of reference, everything else falls apart. Human beings, nature or any other ideal, throw out their own sense, when God is excluded! We are not the result of chance. When humanity “chose chance”, it generated individualism, it spread like relativism, it confused the pieces of society and life’s board! Rebuilding everything, putting the pieces together, is already giving us trouble and will require a lot of effort from society as a whole.
The Word of God and the suffering and wonderful experience of Christians brought up some steps. It is incredible, but it starts when we stop, we become aware of our countless mistakes, we have the courage to recognize them as “sins”, we discover that harming others or life itself and yet nature touches the root of our existence! And there goes the sinner, repentant and pleading, brave to blush in shame in the confessional, ask for forgiveness and leave ready to start over for the umpteenth time, raise his head and get better! From the wisdom of Pope Francis comes a magnificent word: “Confession must not be torture. Everyone must leave confession with joy in their hearts, with a face radiant with hope, even if, at times, as we know, wet by the tears of conversion and joy ”. Yes,
When leaving the confession it is necessary to change the route
When you leave the many confessionals at your disposal, it’s about changing the route! Begin to love our neighbors, treat nature’s goods with greater affection, privilege the good that is done, diminish the bitterness with which society’s facts are commented, make less publicity about current crimes, report positive experiences , participate in community initiatives, who knows how to relearn to smile and greet with more delicacy, behave with one another, without pretending to justify the selfish options of those who want to be “in their own” and still affirm that nobody has anything to do with it!
To those who consider such proposals unrealistic, here is the rest of Jesus’ conversation, by the way available to those interested in Masses on the third Sunday of Lent. It is worth welcoming it and still going to Mass to hear the Good News proclaimed and celebrated in the Church: “Jesus told this parable: ‘A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He went there to look for figs and didn’t find them. Then he said to the farmer: ‘I have been looking for figs in this fig tree for three years and I find nothing. Cut it out! What is the land occupying uselessly for? ‘ But he replied, ‘Lord, leave her this year. I’m going to dig around and put compost. It may come to fruition. If not, then you will cut it off ‘”(Lk 13, 6-9). Time does not forgive those who do not respect it! We have to take advantage of it and turn it into an opportunity for salvation. Don’t waste God’s patience, that offers everything for our growth and conversion. Do penance to flush the land of our hearts, believe in the graces that are offered! We have time!
Ask God for the gift of tears, the gift of conversion
A few days ago, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Pope Francis, referring to the preaching of the prophet in Nineveh, expressed himself this way: “Jonah helped to see, to become aware. What happens next? Its appeal finds men and women capable of repenting, capable of crying: deploring injustice, deploring degradation, deploring oppression. It is tears that can pave the way for transformation; it is the tears that can soften the heart, it is the tears that can purify the look and help to see the spiral of sin in which, many times, one is entangled. It is the tears that manage to sensitize the look and the stiffened attitude, especially sleeping in the face of others’ suffering. It is tears that can generate a rupture capable of opening us to conversion. So it was with Peter, after having disowned Jesus; he cried and tears opened his heart. Today, that word resonates strongly among us; that word is the voice that cries out in the desert and invites us to conversion. In this Year of Mercy, I want to implore you with divine mercy, to ask for the gift of tears and the gift of conversion ”. Asking for the gift of conversion, let us wrap ourselves in the cloak of mercy!