< <  

Friday, March 6, 1998

  > >
Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130
Matthew 5:20-26

View Readings
Similar Reflections

lent or else

"If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all My statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die." —Ezekiel 18:21

Lent is a powerful call to repentance, and repentance is a matter of life or death. Therefore, Lent is a matter of  life or death — everlasting life or the death of damnation.

This Lent, many people will turn away from all their sins (Ez 18:21). This will be the Lent of a lifetime leading to the total love and perfect happiness of heaven. This Lent, some people will turn from the path of virtue (Ez 18:24). This will be a tragic, fatal Lent leading to the second death (see Rv 2:11). This Lent, many people will persevere in holiness despite some of the worst temptations of their lives. Others will persevere in wickedness despite some of the greatest graces in their lives. Lent will be very, very good or very, very bad.  It may be so good or bad that it will take years to recognize its full effects.

Therefore, "delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day" (Sir 5:8). "Delay not to forsake sins, neglect it not till you are in distress" (Sir 18:21). "Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation" (Phil 2:12). "We must consider how to rouse each other to love and good deeds" (Heb 10:24). "And this all the more because you see that the Day draws near" (Heb 10:25). "Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2) "This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the gospel!" (Mk 1:15)

Prayer:  Father, may my next Confession be life-changing and life-saving.

Promise:  "If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift." —Mt 5:23-24

Praise:  Jesus healed Abby and enabled her to forgive her husband. They were permanently reconciled after two previous divorces.  

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997