Second Sunday of Advent
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Repentance calls us beyond ourselves and our circumscribed world. It is not only personal but it promises all that a willingness to change opens the way to new life. It doesn’t happen in one moment. Conversion is a lifetime process. It is an inner drive to return to societal balance and order and leave behind the chaos of a dysfunctional world. As we think of this in a divided nation with a stressed and confused value system, it offers the challenge of a new beginning for us all. What went before needs a life-giving change. To repent of where we have erred is to follow the way that leads out of alienation to reconnection. To repent is the willingness to admit our flaws and to work together toward a renewal of our relationship with God and one another.
May I be willing to see the areas where I need repentance.
Reflect on what needs to be reconnected in your life whether it be with a person or as part of the wider social order. Having experienced all the social disconnections of the past year, analyze where we are all being called to repentance. Focus on one thing you can do to foster reconnection whether it be personal or in a broader context.
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled with them, and then come and present your offering.
Repent, in other words, change your life, for a new way of living has begun. The time when you lived for yourself is over; now is the time for living with and for God, with and for others, with and for love.
Repentance is no fun at all. It is something harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years.
C. S. Lewis
Of all acts of man repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.
I was being called to surrender the very citadel of myself. I was completely in the dark. I did not really know what repentance was or what I was required to repent of. It was indeed the turning point of my life.
Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change.
Ezra Taft Benson
Repentance means you change your mind so deeply that it changes you.
Healing yourself is connected with healing others.
We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.
To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of both sides.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Genuine repentance must bear the seal of a corrected life.
Lewis F. Korns
He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today.
It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
The work of community, love, reconciliation, restoration is the work we cannot leave up to politicians. This is the work we are all called to do.
God is not looking for repayment, but repentance. What heals a broken relationship is sincere love and contrition.