Read: Ephesians 4:7-16, Ps. 122:1-5, Luke 13:1-9

“Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

There is nothing as bad as trivializing our sins, not to mention even bragging about our sinfulness. Sin, any sin at all be it mortal or venial should never be taken lightly. The word “sin” literally translates as “missing the mark”. It is going out of line and there is no way we can justify it or escape its consequences.

A report came to Jesus about how Pilate murdered some Galileans and mixed their blood with the sacrifices. The popular opinion in the minds of many at that time was that God allowed them to suffer because of their sins. And this was the impression Jesus wanted to correct.

God does not use calamity to punish us for our sins rather, He gives us ample opportunities to repent. Jesus asks, “Do you suppose they were worse sinners? I tell you, No!...” Calamity in our lives is not calculated according to the degree of our sins. Calamity can happen at any time to anyone. Think about this. If all suffering in our lives is a result of our sins, what is the sin of those babies in the womb who are aborted by their parents?

However, Jesus added: “… But, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” This simply means that what these Galileans suffered is nothing compared to the suffering of hell; the punishment we would all face if we fail to repent.

Recently, I was watching a football match, and I noticed a player who had the chance of scoring a goal. He wasn’t offside but had succeeded in dribbling the goalkeeper. There he was with the ball and a wide empty goal post but he “missed the mark.” He kicked the ball so high; it went above the goalpost. The match ended one goal to nothing. His team lost the game and I saw him crying furiously at the end of the match.

Jesus wants us to perceive the smell of sin, to see it for what it really is. We do not avoid sin just to please God, or because we are afraid of the consequences, we avoid sin because we want to enjoy the best of everything God has put in place for us. If that player had scored that goal, imagine the joy that would have enveloped him and his teammates. Perhaps that would have given them the morale to win the game.

God wants us to win in the game of life; to bear fruits, and to fulfill our calling. A football player who doesn’t play well, who continues to pass the ball to the opponent, who even scores his own side will soon be removed and replaced. A cook who consistently misses the mark in the kitchen will produce food that he cannot even eat. If we cannot afford to miss the mark in every other aspect of our lives, we should definitely avoid missing the mark when it comes to our relationship with our creator.

St. Paul explains in our first reading today: Some are called to be “apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and some teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” The question is: Am I fulfilling my calling? As an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, etc., am I scoring goals for God? Or am I missing the mark; that is, pushing people further away from God? 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see the gravity of sin that I may avoid all occasions of it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of week 29 in Ordinary Time, Bible Study: Ephesians 4:7-16, Ps. 122:1-5, Luke 13:1-9)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu