I was listening to a radio program last week where they were asking listeners what topics they loved to hear preached during church. The topics listeners mentioned ranged everywhere from the love of Christ, to the crucifixion and resurrection. Strangely though, there was one topic missing and it is the same topic missing from the Church today. It’s not talked about by Church authority, it rarely shows up in homilies, and it certainly is not mentioned in daily conversation for the most part. What is the message? It’s the same message Christ told his disciples to proclaim.
“And he said to them, ‘Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
Did you notice that? Jesus gives his disciples a command. Yes, he certainly speaks of the prophesies of the Messiah being killed for the forgiveness of sins and then rising from the dead. We celebrate that and we praise the Lord for his great salvation achieved through sacrifice. However, he did not stop and say that is the only thing that was written and the only thing they should be preaching. He says, “repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all the nations.”
It is difficult to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins when the majority of our Church leadership has watered down sin to nothing more than a disagreement over lifestyle. It is difficult to preach that one needs to repent when there is nothing, according to society and Church leaders, to repent from because everything just needs to be viewed as “love” and we should be more loving and accepting of others. I agree we should not turn one away due to their sin. However, we will never fill the confessionals with repentant sinners who seek to become saints if we are paving the road to hell with gold bricks decorated with hearts.
The greatest act of love for anyone that we can show is to call them to repentance. The most beautiful thing we can encounter is when a sinner turns to Christ in repentance and turns away from the sin keeping them from the Lord. However, we cannot keep calling a dirty window clean and expect to still see clearly through it
During Ash Wednesday, many of us received ashes on our foreheads and heard the priest proclaim, “repent and believe in the Gospel”. What exactly should we be repenting of if everything is acceptable, and we should just love others?
Repentance brings about discipleship. Discipleship produces joy. Joy gives us devotion. Devotion makes us saints
Without repentance, there is no sainthood. Without sin, there is no repentance.