Why you need a spiritual paracetamol – Joel 2:12-18 ( Part II)

As we prepare for the season of Lent, I would like to reflect with YOUth on the first reading that the Church offers us on Ash Wednesday. Today is the second part of the series.

Yesterday I stated that repentance necessitates both recognition and admission of guilt of having done wrong; of being sorry for the hurt one caused another. You need to have the guts to say I have sinned and too much of our lives today is lived in justifying our sin rather than admitting and confessing it.

Having done that, one has to move to the second stage; to reconciliation. A mere admission of guilt without reconciliation is like spending hours reading a self-help book, making a million notes and then simply placing the book back on the shelf; doing absolutely nothing in terms of implementation. The reading taken from the prophet Joel is like a runner who must obey the three-step command of “on your mark, get set and go…” You can’t simply move from the first stage to the last or decided you just like the ‘go’ part. Having recognized the importance of admission of sin one has to now move to reconciliation.

The prophet Joel gives us an understanding into this invitation to reconciliation. For a minute put things in perspective so we understand what is really being offered. WE (the stress is on our failure and not God’s) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet he is the one who invites us back into relationship. Take a moment to read this text and let it hit you right between your eyes.

“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relents from punishing.”
Joel 2:12&13

The opening words of verse 12 indicate a very frayed and fragile relationship that many young people find themselves with the Lord. It has been so long since we have prayed, so long since we have believed, so long since we have acknowledged our sinful ways….this relationship with the Lord is hanging by a silken thread. That’s how fragile it is. But don’t forget the irony, it is WE who brought this to the edge and it is HE who is working out a deal with the words, “yet even now return to me…”

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