THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
AN INVITATION TO REPENTANCE
As we near the end of the Year of Mercy (on Nov 20), we are
reminded: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to
anger and abounding in mercy.” (Ps 145:8).
is merciful to us because we are His creation. We are His
children, estranged for the moment, whom He wants to restore
to Himself. We belong to Him. It is He who puts His spirit
into us. “For you love all things that are and loathe
nothing that you have made; .... you spare all things because
they are yours, O Ruler and Lover of souls, for your imperishable
spirit is in all things!” (Wis 11:24a,26-12:1).
since mercy is about restoration, it is always an invitation
to repentance. “But you have mercy on all, ....
and you overlook sins for the sake of repentance.” (Wis
11:23). Mercy is intended to restore us to God. It is false
mercy when we just accept people but not speak to them of
course, in pastorally caring for sinners, there can be gradualness
in confronting people with their sin. “Therefore you
rebuke offenders little by little” (Wis 12:2a). But
we do rebuke them, we “warn them, and remind them of
the sins they are committing” (Wis 12:2b). And the purpose?
As has been said, it is to bring them to repentance and faith
in Jesus, “that they may abandon their wickedness and
believe in you, Lord!” (Wis 12:2c).
of mercy would actually start with a personal relationship,
and then go from there. This is what Jesus did with the sinner
Zacchaeus. Jesus first went to his home. “Zacchaeus,
come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
(Lk 19:5b). That encounter led to Zacchaeus’ repentance,
which includes restitution. “Behold, half of my possessions,
Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything
from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” (Lk 19:8b).
His repentance was genuine and the restitution was beyond
what was required. The result? “Today salvation has
come to this house” (Lk 19:9a).
our God, was merciful to Zacchaeus. Jesus is also merciful
to all sinners, which includes each one of us. “For
the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
(Lk 19:10). Mercy leads to repentance which leads to salvation.