Fourth Sunday of Easter
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you.” The word “repent” is an interesting yet important word to consider in our own individual relationship with God and our first and primary vocation as his beloved children. Repentance is important, necessary, and referred to several times in scripture and even highlighted as the theme for penitential services and certain liturgical seasons throughout the year. We need to repent but why and how. We hear scripture cry out to us when John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” However, what does that mean to you when you hear the word repent? Does repenting scare you or make you nervous or do you welcome it and are grateful to God for the gift and opportunity to repent? We hear Jesus echo John’s words to us in scripture and even begin every Lenten Season with the call to “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” However, what does that mean and what exactly is Jesus asking you to do? It seems repenting is required in order to obtain the keys to unlock the doorway to heaven and enter the realm where angels get to sing, adore and play and all the holy saints of God get to worship, praise and pray. However, do you know how to repent? If asked to describe what repentance looks like will you be able to do so with ease or even provide a helpful definition to explain the concept of repenting off the top of your head and without using an on-line search? Can you explain the role of repentance to another with confidence or personally share the life-giving benefits derived from a life and spirit of repentance? Repenting is significant to our daily spiritual pilgrimage leading us to the things pertaining to heaven. It is also important in those deep revealing meditative earthly moments during a desert retreat or the deep contemplative state of divine intimacy. Repentance calls for true contrition, a change of heart, amendment of life and behavior. The invitation we receive is for one to turn away from selfish disordered desires that give rise to disobedience and rebellion in our heart towards God and to “Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” We repent when we feel sorrow or we can genuinely express sincere regret. We repent when we freely say we are sorry and humbly ask for forgiveness from the heart.