“REPENT”

The Sinner's Prayer | Luke 18:13 | 18.12.2019
Luke 18:13 | 18.12.2019

In the last few days of 2019, I kept hearing the word “repent” but the message was still vague. The word flashed in everywhere – in my dreams, in my prayers and on the readings. I thought it was for me “alone” for I am a great sinner.

This thing got me chill and gave me uncomfortable spirit so it led me to a priest for confession. But it didn’t stop there. The feeling continuously disturbed me so I asked, “What else do you want me to do, Lord?” and there was no answer or maybe I was not in the good state of perceiving His messages. One day, I decided to put it in writing but there was no single word to describe my feelings. My self-consciousness with fear, doubt and unworthiness started to attack me and so I can barely move and couldn’t think properly.  I tried sketching it, but it only showed how de-motivated I was.

Morning of 18th December, I just asked God to give me focus especially at work and praise God, all went well the whole day. When I reached home, I decided to re-do the sketch as an offering and thanksgiving. Still, no other words except for “repent” came out so I didn’t post it, rather I shared it to selected friends and requested for their interpretation. Their attention was caught by the broken chain which literally means “freedom” and others said “peace in the spirit of God”. Instead of making myself better, I delved too deeply to my conscience, committed more mistakes and gone back to the priest or to anyone who could console or give me comfort.

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

March 21, 2020 | Gospel Reading | Luke 18: 9-14

Today’s gospel, 21st March, 2020 reminds me of all these. Finally, I found the right verse related to it – “Oh God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” – Luke 18:13

One of the reasons of my self-disturbance is the continued resistance to follow and share His messages. And so I pray, “Please, forgive me Lord, for I have committed sin against the Holy Spirit. The reluctance of my heart and not heeding to Your will is stronger because of the fear of being judged negatively. My faith is always being put to test; torn between the love for God and the love I have for my family and friends. It’s hard. But, I trust you more this time. Please guide and protect me by your grace and mercy. Grant me also the courage to forgive myself and the people who caused me pain. Amen.”

So, what is the message?  Dear family and friends, “Repent.”

One single word is enough. It’s all we ever needed especially in these trying times. Inside our rooms, alone with God, pray with a contrite heart asking for His forgiveness. Setting aside our self-righteousness and self-proclaimed holiness, accept that we have sinned from the biggest to the smallest thing we did including the not being good steward of his precious gifts to us. We have used and abused every blessing we have received – our family, friends, the Mother Nature, time, free will, etc. Our own plans and aspirations are louder than the will and desires of God for us. We overruled our heart with our love for evil and the worldly things. We somehow, contributed to the negative noise around us by spreading hate, anger, bashing, and setting bad role model to the young ones. We are being called to go back to our Creator and to the source of everything before it’s too late for you and to the people around you. Surrender all to God. When we again, commit the same mistake, don’t hesitate to go back to the most compassionate God. Jesus already showed us how to live a life full of humility.

Why the message came in December, 2019? All of us are aware what is happening from the beginning of 2020. Day by day, it becomes clearer; it is not only for me but for all of us. Repentance is a gift. Remember, those who are not willing do not get repentance (2 Peter 3:9). A priest on his reflection also said, “If we do not have the humility to acknowledge our sins and tell all to God, there will be no forgiveness.”

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

– 2 Peter 3:9

Friends, it’s very difficult. It takes a lot of courage and humility to accept that we are sinners or we are wrong. “Sorry” is like a present for God or for someone we truly love but it is fully covered with pride, self righteousness, self validation and selfish desires. Repentance also requires us to give up which is not from him and through him and for him. This world has so much to offer that we cannot even concentrate in our own prayer time. A total distraction to the connection we should have with our Heavenly Father. A deeper relationship with Jesus through repentance and faith gives us more light, peace of mind and heart, and a free will guided by the Holy Spirit.  

By the way, someone asked me, “Why you draw a lady with a chain?”

The sinner's Prayer | Liveloud Concert in UAE | 2019
Liveloud Concert in UAE | 2019 | Photo Credit to Sis Trixia Agbayani – Andrada

That was me. I felt like being chained, a prisoner by someone’s opinion about me. Everything I do is being used against me. I am afraid of their judgments and cursing words. I felt like I am not good enough. My past is hunting me. The world is choking me with evil desires. All of this is making me sick and more sinful. So, every time I close my eyes and lift up my hands to God, Jesus is breaking that chain.

Before striving to make everything whole again, remember, peace and healing will start from the single hole within us. Repent.

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