“Repentance is not when you cry. Repentance is when you change.” ~ Unknown
The theme to today’s readings, quite clearly, is repentance. We are called to repent, to turn our backs to sin and to return to the Lord. Failure to do so has dire consequences. If we do not repent, we doom ourselves to a life — and even an eternity — of separation from God.
The people of Nineveh had wandered from the Lord. They were about as far away from God as a people could be. Because of it, God sent His prophet to the people to tell them that they were going to be destroyed, down to the very last person. The king heard the word of the prophet and took it to heart. He proclaimed a period of fast and instructed the people to beg for forgiveness. The Lord heard their cries and did not destroy them.
In the Gospel, Jesus called His Apostles to Himself. He told them to repent and believe in the Good News. They responded by leaving all behind to follow Jesus.
God calls each and every one of us to follow Him. In order to do so, we have to repent, to turn our lives around, and to embrace God. That is much easier to say than it is to do.
In order to embrace God, we have to put down the things of this earth that we have embraced. Fame, fortune, prestige, status, honor, glory, these are all things that the world promises to us only if we give ourselves completely to the world. If we do so, we might secure the promises of the world. However, if we do, it will not be for long. Certainly not forever. The things of this world will come to a close at the end of the world. After that, all bets are off and all “rewards” of the world will be empty and fruitless.
But the promises of God? They are eternal. They will be given to us here on this earth and given in full in the age to come.
That is why St. Paul, in today’s second reading, encouraged us to acknowledge that “time is running out” and to live in the expectation of the end of the world.
That is not to say that we should live in paranoia or fear or dread. We are to live in “joyful expectation”, knowing that all that we have ever done for our God will have a benefit both in our lives now as well as in the world to come.
FAITH ACTION: Take a good, hard, honest look at your life and determine what you need to change in order to be more like the person God is calling you to be. Then, ask God to give you the grace and courage that you need to make the required changes.