First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Gospel Reading: Mark 1:14-20

Reflection: Jesus’ public ministry starts immediately after the arrest of John the Baptist proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jonah in today’s First Reading is sent by God to Nineveh, an enormously large city to preach repentance by announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shell be destroyed.” When they heard the preaching of Jonah, the people of Nineveh believed God and they proclaimed fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them. Paul in today’s Second Reading is writing to the Corinthians is cautioning them to transform their lives from embracing things of this world turn to God. He let them know that, “For the world in its present form is passing away.” All of today’s scriptural readings are inviting people of all times and places to the transformation of our spiritual life from the life of sin to the life of holiness, from the life of darkness to the life of light. As we stay away from God, our life falls into the darkness of sin. We are called to believe in the gospel, we are called to believe in God, we are called to the life of ongoing fasting and repentance. After listening to the preaching of Jonah, the people of Nineveh came to realize their own sinfulness and in unison they returned to God in repentance and merciful God forgave them. Are we not sinners? Yes, we are. We are engulfed with personal and communal sins. Our nations are becoming weaker and weaker through all kinds of sins: sins of abortions, racism, brutality, pornography, human trafficking, and child labor, to mention but a few. These personal and public sins continue to weaken us. We need to accept our sins and get into our knees for repentance.  Yes! Amen! Fr. Severine.

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