07 Jan 2018: Repentance


Monday after Epiphany

Reading 1: 1 Jn 3:22–4:6; Gospel: Mt 4:12-17, 23-25

We are still in the season of Christmas and today’s gospel reading gives the information about the arrest of John the Baptist and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The first teaching of Jesus Christ is on repentance. He actually continues the teaching of John the Baptist. There is no principle of the gospel is more important than repentance. That is why Jesus begins his ministry by preaching on repentance. Repentance is not just feeling guilty for having sinned but it is change of attitude or behaviour. Repentance is removing the stain and pain and turning to the Saviour Jesus Christ. He calls us for a change of heart.

            Towards the end of the gospel we read that Jesus’ word and fame spread throughout Syriya. Jesus also healed the sick, cast out demons and ministered to the people according to their needs and people from many towns came to see this man Jesus! They came to hear him preach and to be healed (healing both physically and spiritually). Let us put ourselves into this scene of crowed gathered around Jesus. In fact we have come to see and encounter Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. What is our purpose in coming to Jesus? Is it just to have a look at him? Or to listen to him and have a change of heart (repentance)? Or to get some favour from him (healing, job opportunity,etc)?

            I am sure each of us comes to Jesus with some intension in mind. Whatever may be our intension, let us in the first place ask Jesus to give us the grace to have a change of heart. Because that is what he preached first; healing and curing will take place automatically. When we listen to him and do what he tells us, then he will grant us what is necessary for us.

“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt: 6:33).

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