God’s Call for Repentance

In the Gospel, Jesus uses the word “repentance” twice to highlight its importance. I used to think that repentance is only about changing one’s behavior by knowing the rules, laws, and norms in society. I equate being a nice person with holiness. I thought by merely trying your best to be accepted by society and labeled as a “good man” or “nice guy” is what Jesus meant when he said, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” I find it simple to appear good to others by simply following the rules and laws, observing the etiquettes in a specific location, being polite, and being aware of my actions to avoid negative comments from others.

As I continue to reflect and read, I realized that repentance demands something more. It must come from the inside first before you can show it on the outside. Repentance starts in the mind, perspective, and disposition so that you can ensure that it is truly God that you are trying to please, not the people. When one has a good conscience and attitude towards everything, it produces good actions that might even be bad by the standards of common people, but are pleasing in the sight of God.

As a priest-in-process, the Lord continues to challenge me to continue to have a good perspective and disposition to realize the true meaning of repentance. The parable of the fig tree demonstrates that my life is not my own, but rather a gift from God that He can take any time. Though I am a sinner, Jesus is the patient gardener who continues to cultivate me so that I can bear fruit.

By: Sem. Jose A. Cordova Jr.

Today’s Gospel

Lk 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but 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.’”

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