Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ…Once again this week, I share with you some readings from the Catholic Catechism to help explain the readings from this weekend’s Masses.
From the Catechism:
1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes”, fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures, and works of penance.23
1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart.25 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!”26 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:27
Let us fix our eyes on Christ’s blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation, it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.
1433 Since Easter, the Holy Spirit has proved “the whole world wrong about sin,”29 i.e. proved that the world has not believed in him whom the Father has sent. But this same Spirit who brings sin to light is also the Consoler who gives the human heart grace for repentance and conversion.30
23 Cf Joel 2:12-13; Isa 1:16-17; Mt 6:1-6; 16-18
25 Cf. Ezek 36:26-27
26 Lam 5:21
28 St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 7,4 PG 1,224
29 Cf. Jn 16:8-9
30 Cf. Jn 15:26; Acts 2:36-38; John Paul III, DeV 27-48
Fr. Michael Phillippino