Repent while there is time

3rd Sunday of Lent
Beloved in Jesus Christ, today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent; Lent is a time for us to be renewed in our life. It is a time to root out bad habits and sins, personality faults and evil thoughts from our life.
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In the Gospel today, Jesus gives us a warning. In his day, Pontius Pilate had murdered some Galileans, ‘cut down’ in the prime of life; the people were shocked by this. Christ says, ‘Don’t be surprised that this happened to them. He says: ‘What about when that tower fell on all those 18 people at Siloam?’ ‘They weren’t prepared;’ this could happen to any of you at any time.
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Our Lord was warning them, because no one knows how many days we have left on earth; and we DO wish to leave this earth in God’s friendship; therefore, during Lent, Holy Church urges us to repent of our sins.
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St. Bernard says, ‘think of the sins of your youth and be ashamed;’[i] ‘remember the sins of adulthood and weep;’ ‘look at the disorders in your life today and tremble; ‘it is time to repent and turn back to Christ.
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I know many people who are engrossed in things in this life: their work, their hobbies, their romances – but they think little of how their life will end or be judged. St. Camillus was one day looking at a cemetery, and he thought: ‘if those people were alive again, they would do things differently.’ But then he considered himself: ‘What am I doing with the time I have left?’
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There are so-called religious people, who spend their days reading theology or saying a thousand prayers, but they still won’t get along with their neighbor. What are we doing with the time God has yet given us?
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I was reading about a man named Theophilus, the archdeacon of the church of Adana; he was immensely loved and respected by the people, this Deacon. Now it happened that some evil persons made false accusations about him of a crime, and for this, the bishop expelled him from diaconal ministry.
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He was so depressed, that out of desperation he went to a fortune teller who sought help for him from Satan. The devil told Theophilus that if he wanted help, he must renounce Jesus and Mary, and write this down and sign it. In desperation he did it.
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Well, low and behold, the bishop suddenly reinstated him to the Deaconate. Needless to say, Theophilus was full of guilt over what he had done. He was reinstated at the price of his soul!
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He went to a church, and threw himself in tears before an image of Mary and said: ‘O Mother of God,’ you can still help me who have done this traitorous deed. He prayed there for help for 40 days, when suddenly one night Mary appeared to him: ‘O Theophilus, what have you done? You have renounced the friendship myself and my Son, and for whom? For our Enemy.’
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‘O Lady, he answered, you must pardon me and obtain my forgiveness from your Son.’ ‘Mary replied, ‘Be of good heart, I will intercede for thee.’ Days later she announced that he was pardoned; ‘but,’ she said, ‘from this day forward, be grateful to God and faithful.’ ‘But O Mother, he said. The enemy still possesses that wicked document in which I renounced you and your Son.’ 3 days later, he woke up to find the document on his chest.
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Then he went to the church where the bishop was, and in the presence of an immense gathering of people, he cast himself at his feet and with bitter tears related all that had taken place; and then he delivered into his hands the wicked document. The bishop burned it in the flames, and all the people wept for joy and praise of the goodness of God and the mercy obtained by Mary for this poor sinner. This event is attested to by the historian Eutychian, who was an eyewitness.
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Friends, Jesus tells us in the gospel of a little fig tree which bore no fruit; he said, I have been waiting too long for it, ‘cut it down.’ But the gardener asked him for one more chance, and he allowed it. The Lord has already given us so many chances, maybe we are near the end of our chances.
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This Lent, let us Confess our favorite sins and give them up. Let us say with St. Catherine of Genoa: ‘Lord, no more sins. No more sins.’ —
To the praise and glory of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God; in memory of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, be everlasting praise, honor, power, and glory from every creature, and to us forgiveness of all our sins, forever and ever. Amen.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Peter]

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[i] Preparation for Death, p. 33.

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