Blog & Pastor Letters

Repent and be Converted

04-18-2021Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

The message of Pope Francis on Easter Sunday stated in part, “The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail. But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help.” In his message, the Pope encouraged peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians and prayed for the restoration of normalcy in conflicted areas. He also urged an end to bloodshed in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Nigeria, South Sudan and various parts of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo. He prayed for the victims of the Kenyan college attack where 145 students were killed.

The Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et spes (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) specifies that the Church is at the service of humanity. The overview of service according to the document covers all aspects of human life from social justice, poverty, economics, culture, ecumenism, science, and technology. Service began with the early Church. Peter as leader of the apostles feared only God and spoke to all with modesty to convert them to a new life.
The preaching of Peter ended with the words, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

Today the Church does not coerce people into believing in Jesus but rather persuades them into understanding that conversion brings relief from the burden of sins. St. John the beloved apostle writes, “The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them.” The gift of conversion comes after listening to the words that teach us a different approach to life’s issues. Without understanding the alternative to sin, we cannot expect to avoid it entirely and live holier lives. But since Jesus has risen from the dead and given us an assurance of his love, we cannot afford to lose it.