‘But unless you repent you will all perish as they did’
There is something a little unnerving in this brief passage put before us in today’s reading.
This time of lent is a graced time, one where we are encouraged to intensify our regular spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is also a penitential season, a time for self-examination in light of the love of God, a love which took on human flesh in the person of Jesus, and which manifest itself in the sacrifice that Jesus undertook for us on the Cross.
This self-examination is not supposed to be an act of fearful self-deprecation, inspired by a particularly harsh reading of texts such as what is before us today, but instead we are to take a realistic look at who we are, in light of our creation as Imago Dei (the image of God) and, perhaps more specifically in light of the person of Jesus who fully reveals us to ourselves (see Gaudium et Spes n. 22).
The opportunity to repent, as seen in today’s reading instead should be looked at as a mercy. Like the fig tree that failed to produce fruit in due season, the opportunity to repent is an opportunity to be re-planted in Christ, from where we draw the strength to bear fruit that will last.
The act of repentance asked of us here is one that opens us up to experience the love and mercy of God.
Let us pray for the grace of a repentant heart this Lenten season, so that we can experience more fully the love and mercy of God the Father.

Point to Ponder
“Mercy in itself, as a perfection of the infinite God, is also infinite. Also infinite therefore and inexhaustible is the Father’s readiness to receive the prodigal children who return to His home. Infinite are the readiness and power of forgiveness which flow continually from the marvelous value of the sacrifice of the Son. No human sin can prevail over this power or even limit it. On the part of man only a lack of good will can limit it, a lack of readiness to be converted and to repent, in other words persistence in obstinacy, opposing grace and truth, especially in the face of the witness of the cross and resurrection of Christ.”
(St Pope John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 13)