3rd Sunday of Easter - 19 April 2015 - Fr John's Homilies

3rd Sunday of Easter - 19 April 2015

In Jesus name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

1. The way that we understand this one sentence in the Gospel, will be the way we lead our lives. That is why the first followers of Jesus, the Christ, were called followers of the way.


2. St Francis of Assisi taught the friars: "We must bear patiently not being good and not being thought good." It is a rare insight, as the common assumption is that one primarily needs to "think well of oneself.”


3. St Thérèse of Lisieux, who lived just over 100 years ago, teaches the same thing and says it is a "new way." She called it her Little Way and called herself a "Little Flower" in God's big garden. This spirituality of imperfection undermines the egoistic use of religion for purposes of self-esteem.


4. Both Francis and Thérèse recognized that you come to God not by being strong, but by being weak; not by being right, but through your mistakes; not by self-admiration but by self-forgetfulness.


5. This teaching utterly levels the playing field of holiness, so all losers can win; which is everybody! This is pure Gospel, and worthy of being called "good news for all the people" (Luke 2:10)


6. But what about our part in all of this Good News; that bit about repentance. Repentance means to change your mind and to turn from sin. This means different things to different people. But Biblical repentance simply means “change your mind.” You can change your mind about anything, but Jesus called us to change our mind and believe the good news (Mk 1:15).


7. This is often understood as “God being holy so that God won’t accept you unless you turn from sin.” It’s sold as a “message of repentance” and it appeals to our sense of right and wrong but it’s utterly false.


8. Using sin-rejection as a means for salvation, you place yourself under the Law; make yourself the mode and the process of redemption….no longer is it repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name, but in my own name.


9. The redemption, the restoring of true value that God offers, is not conditional on our ability to perform. Pride, ego and self-righteousness are traps that blind us truth and beauty of the Gospel message.


10. To get people to repentance, to change their minds, Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom of God. He painted a picture of where God wanted them to be with Him here and now and He gave them clear directions on how to get there by having faith in God.


11. It was the same with Paul. He didn’t walk into Corinth, one of the world’s most depraved cities, and preach “turn from sin.” Instead he resolved to know nothing but “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).


12. As sinners we need to learn how much God loves us, not because of our goodness or righteousness but because of the goodness and righteousness of God, who is love.


13. Should you repent? Of course! There needs to be far more repentance, particularly from those who are on the inside of religion. Repentance should be our life-style. You cannot renew your mind without repenting for repenting means to change your mind.


14. When I discover something new about the goodness of God, I repent; I change my way of thinking so that my life lines up with what is true. I repent every day and it’s wonderful. I’m not the same person I was even six months ago because I am in the habit of repenting.


15. Repentance is one of the most important things you’ll ever do but you don’t get people to repent simply by telling them to repent. You just give them a good reason to repent and they’ll repent.


16. Paul said repentance comes as a consequence of learning about the goodness of God (Rom 2:4). So if you want people to repent, tell them how good God is! Preach the good news!


17. Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. Repentance, like faith, is a positive response to something God has done.


18. Paul said, “the only thing that counts is faith expressed in love” (Gal 5:6). God loves you, He died for you and He offers you His righteousness.


19. God’s power for salvation; for your forgiveness, healing, deliverance and provision is revealed in the good news; the blessings of God that come to us, by and through grace.


20. This is the Good News to be preached to every nation.