Thursday, October 1, 2018
At that very time there were some present who told Christ about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”– Luke 13:1-5
Tragedies natural and man-made happen both now and back then in the real-life times of Christ. These two tragic events sound like newspaper headlines … in whatever form the news was carried back in the first century Judea. A human cruelty executed by the Roman occupation, an accidental collapse of a tower leaving eighteen dead … and the victims, not sinners any more sinful than any other sinner, even we sinners who sometimes make moral judgments about those more sinful than ourselves.
Christ’s makes a call to repentance … and it is not a call to other people, but we ourselves. If we do not change our ways, we will experience our tragic ending if we pay not heed to the signs and warnings.
It is a common religious/political slogan offered by one preacher or another … “if this land will not repent it will perish”. Indeed a Biblical admonition made through Biblical history, yet I have observed those who need to repent are those with a selection of sins not our own. It tends to have an air of self-righteousness by pointing out the sins that those “other people” commit. Seldom is this doomsday warning shared in a penitent spirit of confession, but rather in a judgmental spirit of condemnation.
It is true … we will all need to repent and change the course of our lives and the way we live together … but that repentance must include our own subtle sinfulness to which we have grown accustomed. The subtle sin of hypocrisy. The subtle sin of prejudice. The subtle sin of self-centeredness. The subtle sin of bearing false witness. The subtle sin of greed. The subtle sin of hateful thoughts and hateful speech. The subtle sin of thinking of oneself as better than others. The subtle sin of indifference. The subtle sin of blaming. The subtle sin of needing to control others. The subtle sin of hard-heartedness and cold-heartedness. The subtle sin of rationalizing the sinfulness we ourselves commit.
Yes … our land and any land is in need of repentance … but that repentance is something we all must undertake with the help of transforming grace of the Lord.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz