“If a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life.” —Ezekiel 18:27
Jesus began His public ministry with the command: “Reform your lives and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). If we don’t repent of our sins, the shedding of Jesus’ blood and His death on the cross were done in vain for us. Repentance is the beginning and the essence of life in Christ. Nevertheless, repentance is humanly impossible, for repentance is not a minor change but a 180-degree turnabout in our lives and lifestyles. Moreover, the nature of sin is such that it blinds us to the seriousness of sin. Yet God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9), and sinners miraculously repent day after day (see Ez 18:28).
In addition to repentance, a necessary part of our conversion is final perseverance. God’s Word says: “When a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die” (Ez 18:26). After we repent, we must remain faithful (see Lk 21:19). Even if we sin, we must return to the Lord and faithfulness, and persevere in that faithfulness. Otherwise, we are lost. Once again, we are totally dependent on God’s grace. Yet we must repeatedly make the free decisions to accept those graces of perseverance. So let us humble ourselves in repentance in the regular celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and strengthen our perseverance in the frequent or daily celebration of the Eucharist. The Lord has made His grace very available to us. So let us thank Him and immerse ourselves in our baptismal graces now and forever.
PRAYER: Father, may I be converted by Your standards.
PROMISE: “It was thus that He humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! Because of this, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every other name.” —Phil 2:8-9
PRAISE: Praise the Risen Jesus, “Author of Life” (Acts 3:15).
(From a reflection by a member of the editorial team of the late Fr Al Lauer’s Presentation Ministries)
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