3rd Sunday of the Year (B) 2021
There is a word that I suspect is very off putting for many Catholics, and that word is “repent”. Is it an over-reaction to evangelical preachers. You know the kind that tells us to “repent because the end of the world is nigh”? It may be. Or maybe we just don’t like the idea of repentance. Yet Jesus uses this word in the gospel today, “repent, he says, and believe the good news”. I think his words create a different reaction; maybe less threatening.
Words are important. It’s how we normally communicate. We open our mouths and the words come out. But there are different kinds of words. There are words that build up and words that destroy. And they can destroy. There is an old saying that children use when they don’t like what someone says about them: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” If only it were true. In my experience words can do more harm than sticks and stones. However, the opposite is true: words can build you up and make you feel good about yourself. And that is what the Word of God does. Today the Church wants us to reflect on the Word of God; it has set aside this day as ‘The Sunday of the Word of God’. How important it is to listen to what God is saying to us.
Thank God we Catholics do this more now. When I was a child we didn’t read scripture, and we weren’t really encouraged to. But this is how God makes Himself known to us: through His words. We should echo the words of the psalmist who says in today’s psalm: “Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me.” By reading scripture we do get to know the Lord and we learn what he wants us to do. The word of God can be and should be our guide in our journey through life. What God wants to tell us isn’t so much to repent; though that will always apply to some extent, but what He wants to tell us is that we are loved and we are lovable. Isn’t this what we want to hear: who wouldn’t want to hear that they are loved and that they are lovable? Such words build us up, make us stronger, boosts our confidence, so that we believe that with God at our side we can do anything.
Such is the Word of God. It is so positive and so life-giving. Reading the word of God and taking it to heart changes us; it definitely makes us better people, better Catholics, better Christians. So why wouldn’t we spend more time reading scripture when it will make us feel so much better about ourselves and about life; even during this pandemic.