It is 21st January 2018. We celebrate the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings are from Jonah 3:1-5, 10; the second reading is from 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; and the Gospel from Mark 1:14-20. Repentance alters the judgement and sentence of God. Our penance renovates the soul and demolishes the perverse manners and behaviors. Sincere penance leads a person to deep repentance. Penance preludes the repentance that offers the comfort to the soul infected with sin. In the first reading, Prophet Jonah nails the hearts of the people of Nineveh to the Word of God that changes the wicket hearts. God invites us all to participate in holy life and to leave sin once and for all. God counts on our repentance and response we make through personal conversion not out of fear of punishment rather in celebrating God’s love in our freewill and choices. “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” (Jon.3:10). The responsorial Psalm pleads, “Teach me your ways, O Lord.” (Ps.25:4). In the second reading, St. Paul urges us not to be attached to the worldly pleasures and wealth of the world that would jeopardize the new life in Christ. Anything in the world or anything that is provided in the world is not permanent and it is fleeting. Our life in this world is too short, and our temporary pains are not permanent and therefore we need to hope for the unfading joys of eternity. “For the world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor.7:31). The Gospel echoes the same invitation to repentance. Only through true repentance, we can believe. St. Jerome describes that without faith we cannot do good works defining, ‘faith is the beginning of good works.’ Our belief in the Gospel cannot just occur without repentance. Jesus calls us as He called Peter, Andrew, James and John to fish people for Christ constantly. Our change in life must be permanent for the reason Christ offers. Leaving the comfort zone of our family origin to embrace the larger family for Christ. The invitation of Christ needs to be taken seriously and personally over the petty wishes and dreams of our lives. The time of God’s visitation in our lives is here and now. So, we cannot delay anymore to repent and believe the life-giving words of Christ. “This is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:14). We just need to leave the nets and the boats we still hold to follow Christ totally without fear, insecurity and anxiety of the world. Jesus is the Good News we need to believe in because of His Passion, death and resurrection that has offered the sinful humanity a way out to connect and communicate with God in dignity and truth. May you have a good day. God bless you.

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