Reconciliation Lectionary: Luke 13:1-5

mary-the-penitent.jpgAs ordinary time continues, we will get a steady dose of Luke’s Gospel each weekend until December. One reading that does not appear in the Sunday Lectionary is this tidbit from chapter 13, also found in the Rite of Penance at number 189:

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

This passage goes beyond Jesus being up-to-date on regional news. But penitents are challenged to be up-to-date on their theology.

Misfortune in this life is not a punishment for wrongdoing. It is that simple. And people who escape misfortune are not virtuous because their lives are humming along without major incident. This corollary does not hold true.

What the Lord insists on is not a reliance on the exterior manifestations of sin. Sometimes there will be consequences. Sometimes those effects of sin will be hidden, delayed, or even ignored. But the mortality of the believer is inescapable. We need to turn to God, and turn in repentance for sin.

This reading seems particularly good, perhaps, for some people who might come to form I and need a reminder that God’s punishment for sin isn’t how we might perceive it. It might also be a suitable reminder for a faith community during Lent. It might also remind us not to be focused so much on the fantastic and newsworthy events that seem to point our misfortune (and therefore sin) for other people. No question: we need to pay attention to our own news, refine our consciences, and cling closer to Christ to as to escape eternal death.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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