BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu

“And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.” Jonah 3:5.

To repent is to acknowledge my sinfulness before God, to be truly sorry for them and to ask forgiveness from God. Repentance begins from the heart and finds expression in physical actions such as FASTING, SELF-DENIAL or SELF- HUMILIATION which is symbolized by the wearing of sackcloth. It is actually punishing myself.

The action of the people of Nineveh in our modern day and time would translate into being able to bring myself before a priest to confess my sins. Like the people of Nineveh, I would have to punish myself, fast from my personal pride, deny myself and mention my sins to Jesus who is represented in the person of the priest.

Virtually all the spiritual masters and saints recommend regular confession at least once a week. In other words, I don’t need to wait for Jonah to warn me before I repent. If I really want to live above sin, then I must take advantage of weekly confession. If I put off confession for more than a week or longer, the weaker I become spiritually.

The more I repent of a particular sin, the more I confess it, the less likely I commit it. At times, I become too ashamed of confessing a sin that I just flee completely each time I am faced with the temptation to commit that same sin. This is why confession is good.

If I just sit in my room and beg God to forgive me without actually humiliating myself by confessing it to a priest, I might as well be deceiving myself.

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” Jonah 3:10.

Repentance moves God. The more I repent and leave my sins behind, the brighter my future will be. I would be saving myself from a lot of calamity by repenting constantly and living a truly holy life.

In our Gospel passage, Jesus would not allow Mary take Martha from his presence because for him, she had chosen the better part. I could be very busy for Jesus but if there is no connection spiritually between me and Jesus, my busyness becomes null and void.

I could be working for Jesus but if I allow sin fester within me by putting off confession, it means I am not choosing the good portion. On the last day, it is not my sweat and energy for Jesus that will count, it is not the number of meals I cooked for Jesus that will count but my spiritual connection.

In Luke 13:26-30, we read: “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, in my busy-ness for you, may I not miss heaven. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Jonah 3:1-10 and Luke 10:38-42).

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