24th March 2019

“Do you suppose that these Galileans who suffered like this are greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.”

 

Reflecting on the Gospel of Luke 13: 1-9, where a reporter came to tell Jesus about the Galileans that Pilate killed and mixed their blood with that of the sacrifice, and Jesus' response, which gives an additional case of unexpected death of 18 people crushed by the tower of Shiloam, and the questions of Jesus that followed, one cannot but be compelled to recall the recent happenings around the world. One keeps ruminating on the many sudden and unprepared deaths that have taken place in the last week and begins to wonder: “If Jesus were here with us today, what incidents would He used to teach us the urgent need for repentance, as He did His listeners in the Gospel we just listened to (Luke 13: 1-9).” How about: “Do you suppose that the 346 people who crashed in the Ethiopian airline on March 10 were greater sinners? Do you think the 71 people who were killed by the Fulani militia in Kaduna (Dogon Noma), Northern Nigeria on March 11 were the worst of sinners? The 50 Muslims shot to dead while at prayers in two different Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, do you think they were greater sinners? Or do you suppose that the over 1, 000 people who have lost their lives in the cyclone Idai that has been ravaging Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe for over a week now are the worst sinners? Or do you think that all the young people who have been knifed to death on the streets of London are the worst young people in the city?” The questions could continue ad infinitum and Jesus would certainly be ashamed and sad at the heartlessness of man to fellow men, and His cry for global repentance would be inconsolable. Because of the suddenness of death and its untimeliness repentance becomes an urgency. True repentance is a firm decision to change one's ways. To live according to the Will of God and in obedience to His laws, abiding by the teachings of the Church. A time like this. Lent, requires a thorough self-introspection. For as Jesus warns: "Unless you repent, you will also perish as they did" (Luke 13: 5).  The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree gives us hope that we have a Mediator, who is Christ, and that God is always ready to listen to Him, and to grant us "one more year" to repent. But when does our "one year" end? We do not know. That is why it becomes critical that the right time to repent is NOW.