Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday of the First Week
Repentance is the theme of today’s readings. It’s a difficult concept to address, much less do. We all say we’re sorry, but often as a habit of convenience. People perceive fairly accurately when there is genuine regret versus the symbolic apology. The required handshake or hug leaves each with their own justifications and wounds, and no healing. What is the meaning of the word “repent” as spoken by Jonah, the psalmist, and Jesus?

Repentance [dictionary definition] is to feel regret for past action; contriteness, remorse, sorrow. To repent is to feel such sorrow so as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better. Jonah’s call for the people of Ninevah to repent was the most visibly successful ever, with the lowliest to the king in sackcloth and ashes repenting before God. God forgave them despite Jonah’s wish that they be punished.

The psalmist goes further than feeling remorse and sorrow for the broken relationship with God. He asks that God create a clean heart in him, a humble and contrite heart that is open to God’s mercy and forgiveness. Humility takes away our pride and self-sufficiency, offering all of ourselves to God.

Jesus always works in relationships because the love relationship God has with each person is everything. He tells the people that signs have no place in proving who God is, or that He loves and forgives us. Our humble and contrite heart is the place where we meet God’s mercy and compassion. Jesus is revealing God right in front of us. Repentance brings the change of heart that welcomes God in.


Loving Father, hear my prayer for a humble and contrite heart. Create a steadfast spirit within me so that I trust completely in Your love and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name I pray.

Jan Hancock, M’12, P’99, P09, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-10
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

Gospel: Luke 11:29-32

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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