MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on the the meaning of repentance and how it can be illuminating.  What does it mean to cogitate and meditate, anyway? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent to find out. Please read Luke 13:1-9.

For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 3/3/2013The 3rd Sunday of Lent.

Please pause this audio and read Luke 13:1-9

What do we do when we mess up? What if we lose our focus on living a life of retreat, don’t avoid all the evil you and then don’t do all the good you can, what then?

Repent.

It seems such an old fashioned word to us today, doesn’t it? But it is the basic old time religion, to repent. Now repentance is the change of orientation of our cogitation and meditation so that our action shows the Lord’s sanctification that gives His illumination to the world. Did you get that? Here it is again: repentance is the change of orientation of our cogitation and meditation so that our action shows the Lord’s sanctification that gives His illumination to the world. It means daily change. That change starts with a tinge of regret.

We usually call that tinge of regret “saying I’m sorry.” Now there is a difference between just saying, (with teeth together and angry) “I’m sorry” and saying, (with great appeal from the heart) “I’m sorry.” One comes from us just wanting to make life easy for ourselves and the other comes from the heart. Repentance means that the way we think, our cogitation, is touched by the Holy Spirit so that we don’t think we are so right all the tim. Repentance means that our meditation, our prayer and concentration on Jesus as Lord of our life, is touched by the Holy Spirit so that we know we are wrong and we need to change it.

One of the things that ruins more marriages is the inability of one or both partners to realize that they are wrong. Men are notorious for ignoring their wives’ maps on a trip and being Joe macho, “Aw, Little Dumplin’, I know how to get there.” Three hundred miles after the correct exit he says, “Well, they must have changed the signs on that exit!”

Men should realize that the woman of their dreams is not saying, to themselves, “Oh, he is so smart! They MUST have changed signs on that exit!” Right at that moment she is comparing her honey to a certain part of the horse’s anatomy.

A real man would say from the heart, “I am sorry. I was wrong.” So would a real woman when she was in the wrong. This is just one little thing for which we need to “fess up,” what about the really big things we need to say we are sorry about in our lives? If there is one thing that is killing our marriages, and our relationship with God, it is our inability to say, from the heart, “I am sorry, Lord.” Think about it, if we can’t make this first step, then we cannot repent. We are in trouble then, because Jesus says, “unless you would repent everyone, you will perish in just the same way.”

Simply put, repentance first meanst hat orientation of our cogitation and meditation changes so that we can admit from the heart that we are wrong. Then we can say, from the heart, “I am sorry, Lord.”

This knowing we need to change is sanctification. If you already know that you need to keep changing your ways because you continue to sin, then you, my friends are already being sanctified.

Now repentance is not just the heart and mouth getting in sync. Repentance is action! Repentance is righting the wrongs we have done. What use is it for us to say we are sorry and not try to undo the hurt we have done? We are forgiven of our guilt when we confess our sin, but we are not relieved of our responsibility to love those we have harmed.

When I talked about the soldiers coming to John the Baptizer earlier this year I told you how John told them to repent. When he told them to repent, he told them to stop cheating people. In fact, later in this Gospel we will hear of how Zaccheus repented and paid back four times what he had stolen. When St. Paul was met by Jesus on the Road to Damascus, he was told by Jesus to stop persecuting him. Then Jesus told him through Annanias on Straight Street to go and preach the gospel. So, repentance is the change of orientation of our cogitation and meditation so that our actions show the Lord’s sanctification that gives illumination to the world.

When someone is rotten to the core and refuses to admit they are wrong, who has never uttered the words, “I am sorry,” the world just comes to expect they will never say it. In fact, no one believes that those KIND of people will ever really change. So, when they do change, when they realize by the power of the Holy Spirit, that they need to stop thinking they know better than God, then everyone stands up and takes notice.

I have a friend whose whole family is based on getting even: “you done me wrong, so I am going to do you wrong.” When he became a Christian and started saying “I am sorry,” and “I love you,” and his actions matched his words, his family just didn’t know what to do with him. That caused his family to ask, “What has made the change in this boy?” He is able to say, “Because I realized that I was wrong in trying to get back at you and Jesus wanted me to love you He has changed my ways.” The Lord is illuminated by my friend’s sanctified actions.

Repentance is the change of orientation of our cogitation and meditation so that our actions show the Lord’s sanctification that gives His illumination to the world. Repentance is regretting our sinfulness. Repentance is saying we are sorry and meaning it. Repentance is backing up our words with changed action that glorifies God.

Just think of what your life would be like if everyone of us would just repent. Instead of trying to right the wrongs of other people’s lives we would be righting the wrongs of our own lives to God’s glory. When people saw the work that God had done in us, then they would want to be part of us. So, repent and believe the Gospel. Amen? Amen.

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