And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Many of us heard something similar to the final words of today’s Gospel when we were blessed with ashes this past Wednesday. “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” It would be a mistake, however, to take these two verbs as sequential. First we repent and then we believe? Not quite. Rather, the two are woven together in our lives.
One of our great temptations is to think we can fix ourselves and then present a better version of who we are to God. ‘If I could only change this part of my life,’ we think, ‘then God might accept me.’ But that’s our hang-up, not God’s.
Repentance isn’t a precondition for belief. Repentance flows out of belief. And belief is strengthened by our repentance.
As we begin this journey of Lent, perhaps we can consider where we are starting. Not perfect in any way. Neither fully repentant nor filled with perfect faith, but right where we need to be. And God will meet us there. For it is God’s love and grace that will move us along the way.
—Michael Rozier, S.J. of the Central Southern Jesuit province, was ordained a priest last June. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan.
Lord, our God, in this time of repentance we call out for your mercy. Bring us back to you and to the life Jesus won for us by his death on the cross. May our daily lives bear witness to his dying and rising. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!