THIRD SUNDAY B HOMILY by Fr. Matthias Lusembo

THEME: “REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL” (Mk 1:15)

In Mark 1:15, Our Lord Jesus, who came to save us from our sins, begins his mission by urging us to repent. In John 20:23 he institutes the sacrament of Reconciliation by giving authority to priests to forgive sins in his name. He knows that even if his death opens the heavenly door for us, “nothing unclean shall enter heaven” (Rev 21:27), the new Jerusalem. In Luke 15:3, he warns us that unless we repent we shall perish; in other words we shall miss heaven.

The word “repent” is best expressed by the Greek word “metanoia”, which means an about turn. One who has been going astray turns and follows the right path. Christ’s call awakens us to examine our consciences using God’s commandments. If we have been doubting God’s existence, we need to turn and trust him. If we have been disrespecting his name, we should change and respect it. If we have not been attending Sunday Mass regularly, now is the time to begin doing so. If we have not been respect our parents/leaders or if we have been disobeying them, we have to start respecting and obeying them. If we have been neglecting the education of children, now is the time to begin doing so. If we have been murdering people physically, psychologically, morally or spiritually with our actions or words, Jesus wants us to stop it. If your tongue or writing has been causing dissensions, stop it. Stop any type of violence, physical or verbal.

On January 22, we commemorated the promulgation of Rove Wade in 1973, the Law that has caused about 63 million abortions. That law is against God’s fifth commandment: “Thou shall not kill an innocent person”. That means: Thou shall not murder. That is the law issued by the supreme court made of the Holy Trinity. There is no court that is superior to that court. All human laws are supposed to be in line with God’s commandments.

If you have been participating or planning to participate in abortions, repent and not kill babies, please. It is time to stop also the over familiarity among family members that can lead to incest and eventually, abortion. This is the time to curtail also other actions, like rape, sex out of wedlock, mistreatment of pregnant mothers, and economic injustice towards the poor, because those actions lead to abortion.

If you have been unfaithful, now is the time to start being faithful. If you have been coveting your neighbor’s spouse or goods, stop it. If you have been stealing, put an end to that habit. If you have been spreading lies or conspiracies, or giving false witness, causing anger among people, stop it.

As saint Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7:29, “time is running out”, because sinners do not know when the Lord is going to call them from this earth to give him an accountability of their actions and words. Immediate repentance is required like the Ninevites did when prophet Jonah (3:1-5) warned them of the impending danger. They repented, fasting, wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes.  

Let us not harbor hatred like prophet Jonah. Because Jonah knew that the pagan Ninevites (Assyrians) were unjust and violent towards Israelites and other people, he did not want to warn them against the impending danger. He wanted them to perish. That is why he had decided to run into the opposite direction (Jonah Chapter one). When a giant fish took him back to the direction of Nineveh and God persuaded him to warn the Ninevites, he got very angry that they had repented and avoided God’s punishment.

Jesus wants us to be different from non-Christians. He wants us to love even our enemies and not spread attacks or smear campaigns, like some people have been doing after the elections. Jesus, instead of killing his enemies, he forgave them and died for their salvation. As we receive him in Holy Communion, let us remember that he wants us to imitate his attitude. For your homework, please, meditate on Luke 6:27-45.