Grace to you!
On this First Sunday of Lent, may we reflect on conversion through the lens of Divine Mercy.
If you’ve been following our reflections since Ash Wednesday, we had shared how the first part of Lent is a reminder of the need for conversion and ongoing conversion. I hope you know conversion isn’t a one-time thing.
If we are fairly self-aware, we may’ve noticed, more often than we could’ve desired, that some of our thoughts, behaviors and attitudes need the transforming grace of God. Sometimes, those things make us humble. Other times they scare us—reminding us that we are not as holy as we may’ve thought.
Once a gentle and devout man shared how he couldn’t believe he did what he did. He was so worked up in rage against a colleague that he spewed the most indecent vitriol ever—words that could’ve easily landed him in jail. What he did was completely out of whack, “not me” as he said.
There is no such thing as secured and locked-in virtue where we claim we can never falter. Only in heaven could such be found. Until then, we are daily reminded of the Gospel message of ongoing repentance.
But here is the better part. Underlying every divine discipline is incredible grace of divine mercy. God doesn’t let us hit a wall without showing, in His tenderness, the way of salvation. In every situation of human brokenness, the mercy of God is closest.
When Pope John Paul II wrote about the amazing reconciliation between God and us in his Dives in Misericordia, he was pointing us to the truth that amidst sin, the mercy of God already invites us to restoration. Permit me to quote an excerpt from the beautiful words of the pope to us:
“The Church professes and proclaims conversion. Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind (cf. 1 Cor 13:4) as only the Creator and Father can be; the love to which the ‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor 1:3) is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of his covenant with man: even to the Cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son. Conversion to God is always the fruit of the ‘rediscovery’ of this Father, who is rich in mercy” (John Paul II, Dives in misericordia, 13).
I read the story of the covenant between God and Noah (Gn 9:8-15). I cannot but see that beyond the destruction of the flood, was the mercy of God who restores and offers a sign of the rainbow, as a symbolic reminder to generations that He forgives, shows mercy and restores.
We approach God this Lent with a positive disposition towards mercy. As the Gospel reminds us through the words of our Savior, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1;14-15).
In Christ is fulfilled what the covenant of peace and restoration, way back from Noah, anticipates.
It’s inspiring and exciting to hear these words from the first Letter of Saint Peter: “Beloved, Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God” (1 Pt 3:18).
This message of Saint Peter is also for you.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[First Sunday of Lent B: Genesis 9:8-15; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.