"Therefore, reform your lives! Turn to God, that your sins may be wiped away!" —Acts 3:19
When Peter preached about Jesus' Resurrection, he preached repentance (see Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31). He did this to obey the risen Lord Who commanded that "repentance for the forgiveness of sins...be preached to all the nations" (Lk 24:47, JB).
When the early Church preached repentance, they tried to hold people responsible for their part in Jesus' death through their sins (see Acts 5:28). They spoke directly, boldly, fearlessly, and personally to their listeners. Peter bluntly blamed the people for handing Jesus over to Pilate, although Pilate wanted to release Him (Acts 3:13). He told Ananias: "Why have you let Satan fill your heart so as to make you lie to the Holy Spirit?" (Acts 5:3) Stephen told his listeners: "You stiff-necked people...always opposing the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51). Peter told Simon the magician: "I see you poisoned with gall and caught in the grip of sin" (Acts 8:23).
These bold calls to repentance are a far cry from the content of some homilies we hear today. We don't want to put anyone on a "guilt-trip," but in doing so we encourage ourselves and others to wallow in denial. When we refuse to talk straight to a world of alcoholics, self-aholics, and sin-aholics, we enable irresponsibility and sin. We must face both the fact that we are guilty and the fact that Jesus "is an Offering for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world" (1 Jn 2:2). When we accept that we had a part in Jesus' crucifixion, we'll also see that we can share in His Resurrection.
Prayer: Father, send the Spirit to convict me of sin (Jn 16:8). Help me to take responsibility for what I have done.
Promise: "Then He opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures." —Lk 24:45
Praise: Risen Jesus, my Savior, I praise You forever! Alleluia!
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Effects of Sin on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 31, 2011
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