OPTION 1: A parable is told of Satan who complains to the Lord: “You are unfair. So many sinners do wrong and you take them back. In fact, some come back half a dozen times and you always welcome them. I make one big mistake and you condemn me forever. It is not fair.”
The Lord replies: “Did you ever ask for forgiveness or repent.”
In today’s gospel, we heard St. John the Baptist said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He is calling for repentance. In response to this call, people from Jerusalem, Judea and the region around the Jordan flock to him for baptism. Obviously, they see themselves as sinners and transgressors of God’s law. John, as God’s messenger, accepted their repentance.
The Greek word metanoia means change of heart. Metanoia is a biblical term for repentance or complete change of heart which turns one away from sin to serve the living God. In the Old Testament, the prophets called for a conversion that would turn people away from idolatry and from a merely superficial practice of religion to live in fidelity to God’s law and their social responsibilities (Is 1:10-20). In the gospel of today, John the Baptist and then later, Jesus (Mark 1:15), preached a radical change of heart as demanded by the coming of God’s Kingdom. That is why the Baptism of St. John the Baptist is a baptism for repentance. During apostolic times, in the name of Jesus, the apostles invited people to be converted and baptized and so begin a new life in the Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Last May 13, 2003 we have our monthly recollection in the Parish of Norala. The parish priest, who happened to be the in-charge of the said recollection too, invited a speaker by the name of Dr. Lanaria Amido, the Municipal Health Officer of Norala, who talked about this prevalent sickness nowadays called SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. That recollection ended with a Mass. During the homily, Fr. Kula Ledesma, the Parish Priest of Norala Parish, exhorted also during his homily the positive side of SARS by giving meaning to every letter of the word SARS. He exhorted the priests and deacons to have Selfless dedication, Acceptance of others, to be Religious especially to other’s needs and to live a Simple Lifestyle. What a very beautiful exhortation that fits so much about the repentance that we are talking here.
In other words, as one priest said that true repentance is not a matter of doing or not doing certain things. Rather it is a change of attitude. Another example is: it is change from selfish self-indulgence to concern for others; from pride and disdain to humble awareness of our own nothingness; from anger and revenge to a truly Christ-like forgiveness.
You know, it is very self-satisfying if we will not be overly self-indulgent; we will think of others before ourselves; we will accept humiliations and rebuts and even insults without over-asserting ourselves. Of course, instead of a revengeful attitude, we will try to be Christ-like, to forgive, love and serve those who harm and hurt us. This is true repentance. Let us begin now.
To conclude this sharing, John W. Gardiner writes: “To look is one thing. To see what you look at is another. To understand what you see is a third. To learn from what you understand is still something else. But to act on what you learn is all that matters.”
John the Baptist points something important that is coming and the people look at it and respond to John’s call for repentance. They admit their sins and are baptized. They understand and act.
The Season of Advent challenges to do the four: look, see, understand and act.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A
Back to: Second Sunday of Advent (Year A)