From the Pastor’s Desk 1/25/2015
Feb 4, 2015
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The readings for this third Sunday of Ordinary Time invite us to conversion of mind and heart. Conversion is about seeing the world not with “our eyes” but with the eyes of God - to see things not as they are - but as God intended us to see, because we love and follow Jesus. To do this, we need a change of mind and heart we call conversion.
“Repent, and believe in the gospel.” The Word of God urges us to a change of heart. In order to change our hearts, we need to change the way we think and see God, others and the world. We Christians, like everybody else, like comfort and can easily adapt to a culture that no longer reflect Gospel values. Think about abortion in the name of choice (freedom). Abortion is a perversion because we destroy life where life should be most sacred: the womb of the mother. Yet for many of us saving a turtle has become more important than saving a baby. Freedom is not an absolute value but is a value determined by what is moral. The Good News of Jesus implies two attitudes: conversion and belief. The Greek words “metanoeite” which is translated as conversion implies a radical change of thought, heart, and feelings. The word implies embracing the values of the Gospel, abandoning the anti-values of this world. The decision has to be made today because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
“God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them.” The situation of Nineveh was as chaotic as the heart of Jonah. He did not want to go to Nineveh because they had caused so much suffering to his people. But Jonah had a change of mind and heart and went to Nineveh to announce the Word given him. Too often we too are like the Ninevites or Jonah with an interior turmoil not knowing what to do. The people of Nineveh believed because Jonah had a change of heart. There are two reasons for conversion: love of God or fear of punishment. God does not want punishment for us, but it’s our own choices that bring negative consequences. God is merciful and knows how to read our hearts. If we have been converted by love to God, our conversion will be strong and fruitful.
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Following Jesus is the beginning of Christian life. Christian moral is based upon discipleship. To follow Jesus implies abandoning our comforts and embracing the will of God which can only be discovered by listening to Jesus. “Come after me” and your lives will change. A willing heart will dispel problems, preoccupations, temptations, and forgetfulness or as the Holy Father called it Spiritual Alzheimer which is forgetting who we are as Christians and that first encounter with Christ. This is the time of conversion “for the world in its present form is passing away.” Let me share with you the prayer of abandonment of Charles de Foucault:
“Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.”