“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand”

From the Parish PriestFr. Romey Rosco

St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord, preached constantly on the need for repentance.¬† This also was the first message of Christ’s public ministry.¬† In the Gospels, we read that He sent His disciples out to preach repentance, and about His ministry He said: “I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (St. Luke 5:32)

Today, it seems that many Orthodox Christians see repentance as an enumeration of sins without an actual turning away from sin and sinful values.¬† While it is good to know our sins and to confess them (listing them in confession is not a bad idea), we must leave the confessional with sincere determination not to repeat them.¬† Yes, that’s easier said than done, and it is right to confess our sins as often as we commit them.¬† But what is repentance?

Repentance is not just going through a ritual confession, something outward and perhaps superficial, as some Christians confess their sins.¬† It goes far deeper.¬† It is an attitude, a decision, a change of one’s mind and will.¬† It is turning away from self-centeredness and putting Jesus Christ in our place as we seek to do the will of our Heavenly Father.¬† Really, it is coming to grips with yourself in Jesus Christ, taking God seriously, determining where we are indeed wrong and vowing to be different.¬† It is a desperate longing for a clean heart and soul.¬† “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 50)

The Son of God came to save mankind, but not without our complete willingness to be saved.¬† True repentance must be ever-present in our lives, just as the Lord is always with us.¬† “As many as have been baptized in Christ have been clothed in Christ, Alleluia!”

“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (St. Matthew 4:17)

From The Weekly Bulletin, Vol. XL No. 2, 13 January 2013
Sts. Peter & Paul Romanian Orthodox Church, Dearborn Heights MI

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