Repent – Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent – Father Istifanus Sheyin
Brothers and sisters, on this third Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the Lord who frees us from slavery if we are willing to repent. For every freedom we enjoy from God, there is a history and a process which he allows us to g through so that we will value what we have.
In the first reading, we see a people who God took a strategic step to save them from bondage and slavery. He had seen what they were going through and decided to act. Often times, it is not as though God does not recognise our suffering. He does and plans to save us by using people just like He used Moses who was a nonentity, a nomad, and more. This proves the point that God does not need extraordinary people. He does not call the qualified but qualifies the called.
When God called Moses, He asked him to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground. In our world today this instruction has been interpreted in many ways. For example, in Islam, you do not enter the Mosque with your shoes. Likewise, in Christianity, there are certain denominations that go to Church barefoot or remove their shoes before going to the Sanctuary. This is similar in Catholicism where people take off their shoes before stepping into the adoration room. But the question is, is this enough?
To take off your shoes is an invitation to do away with the habits and vices such as sexual immorality, stealing, lies, drunkenness, etc. Until we do this, we cannot have an encounter with God. Sin hinders us from seeing God. God is eternally present but will not be seen by those involved in such vices.
The Church is the place of God. It is the holy ground. It is a place of encounter. Unfortunately, we are gradually losing a sense of the sacred. People forget that the Church s a sacred place of encounter and turn it to a place to gossip, check social media pages, chat, etc. Some use it to show off their shoes, hair, cloth, among others. God is calling us to repent or we shall perish.
In the second reading, St Paul reminds us of the consequences of going against God’s will. He explains that the wages of sin is death and we must be sorry for our sins and resolve never to do them again. Christ used the imagery of the Fig tree to explain that God gives second chances and He is merciful. God wants us to repent now and not procrastinate because procrastination is like a burial ground where ideas are buried.
We continue to pray for God’s grace to encounter Him in truth and in spirit and take advantage of every avenue to repent. God wants us to repent because He does not take delight in the death of the wicked. May God continue to help us. Amen.