In this month of the Rosary, take a moment to reflect on the Third Luminous Mystery.
Entrance to the Kingdom of God begins with repentance for sin. Jesus’ proclamation that heaven awaits, that human beings can know, love, and live with God, demands acknowledgement of sin and conversion.
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
Like the prophets who came before, the voice of our Lord cries out: look to God! The kingdom cannot be had if we are bound up in the measure of this life. What do I value? Where do I hang my heart? These are questions each Christian must ask. Not once, but constantly.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)
The Kingdom of God is worth everything. Nothing is more precious. C.S. Lewis provocatively illustrates this principle in his novel The Great Divorce. The novel depicts an array of characters (“ghosts”) each in different stages of moving toward heaven, but each prevented from arriving there owing to their own vices. Unable to think that God could have anything better in store for them, they cling to the shadows of good things they know. Lewis writes, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”
We must ask ourselves, “What do I cling to? Is this or that thing preventing me from loving God and choosing the Kingdom?”
To turn to God though, is to turn away from sin. Every Ash Wednesday, each of us hears the call proclaimed: Repent and believe in the Gospel. We bow our heads and receive ashes, admitting our wrong before God and man. We fast and pray. We cannot look both ways: we must turn from sin and embrace the Lord.
This is why Christ has come: that we might know the Truth, for the Truth will set us free (John 8:32). Like a physician explaining to us the cause of our illness, the Lord reveals it: it is sin! To be healed we must repent! This mystery of sin and healing is connected. Time and again, the Lord reveals his power to forgive sins by working miracles. Should we not trust the Divine Physician? We should cry out: Lord, free me from my sins! Heal my soul!
No person gets to keep a part of their heart, as if a part of one’s life could not be penetrated by the Gospel. The Fathers of Vatican II told the Church, “Only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.” We can only completely understand ourselves in Christ.
His invitation to be happy is simultaneously an invitation to be changed. He comes, completely changing the horizon of our existence. The Gospel is not simply a layer of freshly fallen snow, a new coat of paint, or decorative sprinkles. The revelation of the Kingdom utterly redefines the nature of our existence, offering altogether new criteria for life and love.
During the month of October, Aleteia is offering a short reflection on each of the 20 mysteries of the Rosary. Follow it here.