From a Creighton Student's Perspective
February 19, 2012
Senior, Theology Major, Pre-Med
When you hear the word “repentance”, what comes to mind? I immediately picture someone being sincerely sorry for committing a hurtful act and promising not to do it again. This could range from a little boy apologizing to his sister and promising not to pinch her again to me apologizing to my friends for gossiping behind their backs. In my mind, repentance is tightly linked to saying you are NOT going to do an evil act again. Repentance almost has a negative tone by emphasizing how one is going to refrain from or not commit sin.
But the readings today compel us to question, “Should the focus of repentance center on the negative?” We hear from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians today that Jesus is truly “yes”. Not “yes” and “no”, but “yes”. What does this mean for us? I think St. Paul is trying to show that our lives should be focused on the great joys and graces that come from seeking and following Christ. We are called to unite our “yes” with Christ’s and joyfully serve God with our whole being. Thus, our view of repentance should reflect this emphasis on the “yes” (or positive) and center on how we can better serve God and grow in God’s presence.
I have found that too often in my life I dwell on the past mistakes or sinful acts I have made. As a result, I feel discouraged or unworthy to live as Christ’s disciple. The first reading insightfully advises against this self-criticism when it says, “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” (Isaiah 43:18-19) It is important to realize that in every moment of every day, God lovingly gives us the opportunity to serve and grow in faith. In essence, we continually are able to grow closer to God. However, if we place all our attention on our failings, we are unable to see these opportunities to grow. Yes, we must recognize when we have done wrong, but we are called to use these moments to see how we can better become God’s disciples instead of falling in self-loathing.
However, I find myself compelled to ask, “How can I move on and grow from my failings?” I think the Gospel helps provide the answer by emphasizing that Christ has the power and love to forgive our sins. Christ does not want to punish or condemn us. Instead, he wants to bring us closer to him and share in his life. Therefore, he has given us the amazing grace of forgiveness. What a profound gift Christ’s forgiveness is? Christ knows that we will fall time after time, but he will pick us up just the same and compel us to live lives directed more towards him. Therefore, let us reflect today in thanksgiving for the gift of Christ’s forgiveness and look for ways to better see God in our lives.
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