Repentance dominates our scripture this week. Peter asks people to repent and believe. John talks or doing God’s will as proof of our faith. And Christ says in the gospel that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be preached to all. Lets confess any way we’ve neglected to repent of evil in our lives..
You know the Bible story of two sons. The father says to one, “go into my vinyard”. He says “OK”, but doesn’t go. The father tells the other, “go into my vinyard”. He says “I wont”. But later he repents and goes. He loves his father and knows that the grapes are ripe; it will hurt his Dad if they rot. Love caused his change of heart. Let it be the same with us. I know a young girl whose family didn’t practice the faith. Realising God’s love for her, she returned to the church and brought her family with her. That’s what we’re asked to do at Easter, to leave anything in our hearts or lives opposed to God. To live our faith and inspire those around us to practice it too. Loving God, we should want his wisdom, happiness and peace for all. I’m sure the first son was uneasy as he left his father. Did he repent and make up with his father later, I hope so. Its cold out there without God.
In our gospel we see the risen Christ appearing to his apostles and proving he’s real by eating food. He asks the apostles to witness to his risen presence and tell people to repent and turn to God. Our faith must be like that. Like the son who showed his love by action, our practical goodness and living faith must redeem our times. So many people go through Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation today, and promise solemnly before God and the community to follow Christ and spread the faith. But when it makes practical demands on them, like the first son they follow the world’s ways instead, back to darkness. Of course there’s human weakness: we want to obey God but are weak.
Today’s Gospel shows that God knows and understands that too. Christ sent the Spirit to help us and the church in our weakness. As John says in the second reading, when we fall we’ve a forgiving Father to turn to and an unfailing advocate, Christ. He rose that, as the Gospel says: “in his name repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be preached to all nations”. We all break some commandments at times but God still loves us. So we should struggle on regardless, pick ourselves up, keep trying. Holiness is in that struggle, none of us will ever be perfect.
If we cannot persist in the effort to obey God as a response to his love, lets do so at least because its for our good; because practical faith leads to inner peace, happiness and freedom for this life and the next. True Freedom is not in licence, but doing whats right. Selfish licence leads to slavery to sin, destructive habits and social chaos. So in obeying God we also love ourselves and the world. We help build an earth of love, peace, justice and truth. We live our Confirmation promises to help the risen Christ deliver all from evil. We become free children of God and citizens of heaven and our continuing choice of faith brings his saving life to all around us. I knew a man in England who drifted from the faith but came back at the end of his life. I pointed out that because of him 1000s no longer had the faith, his children, grandchildren, their children etc. We see football sign saying keep the faith. We should keep and love our faith for our soul’s good and that of the people we love. For all else fades to dust and ashes at last, leaving us high and dry, but the risen Lord is timeless love, truth, happiness, beauty and salvation for our deep happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as the risen Lord’s own, living the faith and helping others to life and salvation within his church, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the Faithful
And as God’s living practicing faithful, proudly gathered with our risen Saviour, we pray to that loving lord for what we need..
For our Holy Father the Pope and all the pastors of the church, that they may not only preach the Word but be living examples of Christian life and so light up the world for Christ..
For ourselves that in our homes, communities and country we may proudly profess our faith in the Risen Lord, and live it out in service of God and his holy church, so as to bring ourselves and those around us to happiness, peace and eternal life..
For young people, may they remain true to the sacred promises they made at Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation to serve God faithfully and practically within his Holy Catholic church..
For the sick, the aged, the lonely and the needy in body or soul, that through our faith, love and care they may know the comforting healing presence of the Risen Christ in their lives..
For the dead, that faithful to Christ in life, through our prayers they may rise with him to everlasting glory. We pray in a particular for those of our community who have died recently..
And we ask all these our prayers through the risen Christ, the unfailing advocate for us before the Father in heaven, amen.
The greatest human story is of our salvation and the setting up of the church. In a reading last week about the early church a man said: “if this is from man it will fade, if from God nothing will defeat it”. During its long history the church has seen off many persecutions from 1000s of opposing man-made systems, incontestable proof that its from God. Yet some foolishly abandon it now for new passing human creeds. They should realise that arrogant godless ideologies come and go but the risen Christ is forever. May Mary give us wisdom to see that so that we may not throw the faith, the pearl beyond price, before swine..Hail Mary