by Br. Ryan Recto [cjm]
All of us are sinners who were born with an innate holiness which comes from God who created us. This means that in our very nature as humans we are called to be holy and good. Therefore, our sins cannot be excuses that prevent us from being united in our Creator who is God, through following the example of Jesus Christ while we are living on earth. Our holiness and goodness which are innate in us mirrors the love and mercy of God who forgives our sins no matter how heavy they are. It is not all about the weight of the sins we committed but rather the way we ask forgiveness from God in our hearts. Let us be reminded then to repent during this season of Lent and bring ourselves back to God for our participation in His mercy continues His salvific act.
The gospel of Luke teaches us that it is the continuity of Jesus’ invitation for us to ask forgiveness from God because of our sins, to forgive those who have sinned against us and forgive ourselves as well. It is the same invitation of Jesus to the people of Jerusalem to repent to return to God. We are reminded that all people are equally loved by God no matter what level of sin each has committed. By giving two examples, Jesus asked his audience who were the greater sinners: those people who died under Pilate or those who perish on the collapse of a tower in Siloam. Jesus opened the eyes of His audience to realize that no one among them are greater or lesser than the other because of the sins they committed. As sinners, we are invited by Jesus to repent and be faithful to God who love us.
We cannot deny the everlasting love of God manifested at all times. God continues waiting for us to look at ourselves and to recognize again that our very nature is our innate holiness and goodness. God sent Jesus so that we may understand the message of God’s love and forgiveness. In the gospel, Jesus uses the parable of the fig tree. A fruit bearing tree which does not bear fruit for three years is useless. That’s why the owner would like to cut it down. But the vineyard keeper asks for another chance for fig tree from the owner. Perhaps in another year with more care and nourishment it will bear fruit. He will dig around it and put fertilizer. Jesus uses this example to show that we should be like the fig tree who bear fruits. He gives us a chance to repent and receive our fertilizer through the word of God. Asking forgiveness from God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation would be a good start in our repenting heart. We need to be fruitful by imitating Christ and extending the love of God through acts of charity.
Repenting is not an act done only during Lent. Whenever we recognize our sinfulness we can return to the Lord. For this reason, we need to ask the grace of God to make us more aware of our innate holiness and goodness so that we will want to accept the invitation of Jesus to repent and to be fruitful fig trees. Let us grab the opportunity that has been given by God to bring ourselves back to him through repentance.