IF YOU MARK OUR SINS LORD, WHO WILL SURVIVE
(Friday March 15, 2019 First week of Lent)
The first reading of today presents the level of God's kindness to sinners. There is an interplay of words between doing good and doing bad and the reward or punishment that goes with either of them. When we look at the reading, we may likely take the position of those who accused God of being unjust. God in this reading state with emphasis that whoever turns away from his/her evil ways and seeks to do good and ceases to do evil must surely live and whoever abandons the way of righteousness and desires to do evil will die.
The central message here is that God wants a sinner to turn back to Him because He takes no joy seeing sinners perishing for their sins. That is why He says "If the wicked man renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and honest, he will certainly live; he will not die. All the sins he committed will be forgotten from then on; he shall live because of the integrity he has practised"
Living in sin is like living in darkness and to reject sin is like transferring from darkness to light, from death to life. Then for a sinner to take the drastic decision to renounce his/her sins implies that the person wants to live and it will be unjust for God to reject a sinner who turns to Him.
The period of Lent is then a period sinners are being encouraged to repent from their evil ways and live and the righteous receive the same encouragement to remain steadfast in doing good. To cease to do good implies going back to darkness, moving away from life to the domain of death which sin brings.
In the gospel, Christ emphatically states that if our righteousness does not exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. The Pharisees and the Scribes always play on the gallery, living ostentatiously in order to be noticed and praised by the people. We should live to please God, serve Him in truth and in spirit not to attract anybody's attention because it is only God that rewards not human being.
At the end of this gospel, Christ highlights the importance of reconciliation. To forgive and to reconcile with one another is one of the criteria of receiving favour from God as Christ said "So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering” We see among many Christians today those who find it very difficult to forgive and to reconcile and yet they pray always for God's forgiveness and favours.
Let us use this period of Lent not only to cultivate the spirit of praying and doing almsgiving but also to learn how to forgive and to reconcile with one another since this is one of the conditions by which we receive forgiveness from God as well as His favours.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to turn away from my sinful life and live a life that will. Be pleasing to you. May I reconcile with you and my neighbor. Amen.