Thinking about Repentance
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Our readings since Advent often focus on darkness and light. This is especially true again this weekend. For me, light is about opening my eyes to see and feel, and then to recognize what darkness exists in both my life and the lives of our brothers and sisters everywhere. Everything I say and do reflects my understanding of what Jesus calls me to be and to do. Sometimes, I am “in the dark” not seeing the connectedness of all of life. Jesus spent his entire ministry on earth being a “light” to the nations, offering hope for all. You and I have that same call.
Two significant experiences for me regarding repentance and building the kingdom of heaven on earth are a reflection guide and a video webinar. I share those with you.
In Living the Word: Scripture Reflections and Commentaries for Sundays and Holy Days, Thomas F. Ryan and Deborah L. Wilhelm offered these ideas for consideration and discussion:
We often imagine repentance as sorrow for personal wrongs we’ve committed, like lying or missing Mass. But truly, every sin affects others somehow, and some of our sin affects others profoundly. To repent, then, is also to see what causes violence, to pray for those in its grip—and to work for a world in which no one need fear it. To repent is to see what’s causing the pain in our economies, our jobs, our relationships—and to be a force for healing restoration. Where do you see this kind of repentance taking place? Where is it needed? (p. 51)
The video comes from Georgetown University, a Jesuit-sponsored and staffed institution that has a strong emphasis on Catholic initiatives around social thought. The online public dialogue/panel discussion focuses on “The Consistent Ethic of Life in 2023: Solidarity with Those Who are Poor and Vulnerable.” It connected so many aspects of what Jesus named and lived as a call to build the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. The link to the YouTube video is here. It is one hour in length, but it is definitely worth it.
For me, both are powerful experiences of the call to be a force for repentance and healing restoration. Jesus said, “I have come to bring the fullness of life to all.” For this let us all work and pray!