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Mass prep – 30 seconds/3 points: Procrastinating repentance?


Photo Courtesy of Sr. Amata CSFN

Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 03/19/22

Let us hurry to love people, for they depart so quickly ...

The Gospel for this Sunday is Luke 13:1-9

1. The time for repentance

Repentance is to be or not to be for a person. Probably each of us thinks that we still have time for repentance. This is one of the most devious temptations. In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks about waiting on repentance.

2 Key Words

If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did. 

What does it mean to repent? 

The answer can be found in the original biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek. 

In Hebrew, the word is “shuv,” to repent is to “turn back,” “to return to God,” that is, to renew one’s personal relationship with God that has been lost through sin.

The Greek word “metanoeo” is repentance in the sense of “the change of thinking.” Hence the word “metainoia” – transformation. This has a profound meaning because a change of life begins with a change in our thinking. 

There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and he came in search of fruit on it but he found none; he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’

He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.

These words of Jesus in the context of repentance have great significance for each of us. The Lord God gives us so many chances to return to Him, to put in order our family life, our relationships with our neighbors. For our sake, however, He says, the time for repentance will end, and it is usually sooner than we may think. 

3 Today

The best repentance is love of God and neighbor. Fr. Jan Twardowski once wrote a very profound poem, which is widely quoted: 

Let us hurry to love people they depart so quickly
the shoes remain empty and the phone rings on
what’s unimportant drags on like a cow
the meaningful sudden takes us by surprise
the silence that follows so normal it’s unbearable
like chastity born most simply from despair
when we think of someone who’s been taken from us.
Don’t be sure you have time for there’s no assurance […]

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