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REPENT OR PERISH!

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction

The Len­ten peri­od is gradu­ally pro­gress­ing towards the resur­rec­tion, the ful­fil­ment of sal­va­tion. The Len­ten Sundays con­tin­ue to enrich us with mes­sages that pre­pare us spir­itu­ally for the paschal mys­tery. While the First Sunday invited us not to allow food, power, and wealth suf­foc­ate our desire for God, the Second Sunday explained to us the right atti­tude in the pres­ence of God. This Third Sunday teaches us that repent­ance is indis­pens­able for God’s bless­ings and for sal­va­tion. As Luke puts it, unless we repent, we shall all per­ish. We must take advant­age of our salvif­ic opportunity.

Unless you repent….

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all per­ish just as they did” (Luke 13:3.5). This was Jesus’ reply to those who came to report to him about the atro­city com­mit­ted by Pil­ate. Accord­ing to them, Pil­ate mingled the blood of those who came to offer sac­ri­fice togeth­er with their sac­ri­fice (cf. Luke 13:1). Reply­ing, Jesus asked them “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sin­ners than all oth­er Galileans?” (Luke 13:2). After this, Jesus cited anoth­er example him­self. He informed those people that those eight­een people who were killed when the tower of at Siloam col­lapsed did not die because they were worse sin­ners than the inhab­it­ants of Jer­u­s­alem. In both instances, Jesus advised them to repent because unless they repent, they will per­ish like the vic­tims of Pilate’s atro­city and the col­lapse of the tower of Siloam in Jer­u­s­alem. But why did people cite the example of those who were killed by Pilate?

Conclusion

When some people informed Jesus of those Galileans whose blood Pil­ate mingled with their sac­ri­fice, they expec­ted Jesus to con­clude it was due to their sins. Unfor­tu­nately, Jesus did not do as they wished. Instead, he reminded them that they are not bet­ter than those people who died. They must repent, else, they will meet the same fate. Why did Jesus answer them that way? In ancient times it was often assumed that a calam­ity would befall only those who were extremely sin­ful (cf. John 9:2; Job 4:7; 22:5). But with his answer, Jesus cor­rec­ted the wrong impres­sion and poin­ted out that all are sin­ners who must repent or face a fear­ful end. The vic­tims of the Ethiopi­an air­line, those who lost their lives in the col­lapsed Lagos build­ing, those Chris­ti­ans killed by the Islam­ic ter­ror­ists and the vic­tims of the Cyc­lone Idai have not com­mit­ted more sins than oth­ers. They are simply vic­tims of cir­cum­stances, nat­ur­al dis­asters and human care­less­ness. Often, many Chris­ti­ans think that some people suf­fer or die due to their many sins. This is wrong! As far as sin is con­cerned, we are all sin­ners. As explained above, it was and is still com­mon­place to render people’s suf­fer­ing as evid­ence of their sin­ful­ness. Jesus chal­lenges this inter­pret­a­tion. Those who were mas­sacred and those who suf­fer were and are no more or less sin­ful than oth­ers. Jesus replies that even a fatal acci­dent, a nat­ur­al dis­aster, sick­ness ought not to be inter­preted as pun­ish­ment for sin.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 3rd Sunday of Lent © is found in vol. III pages 168–180. See also vol. I, pages 132–149. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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