Turn around... and do even better
Today’s first reading (Ezekiel 18:21-28) encourages us to conversion (no matter how wicked we may have been) and to continued fidelity (no matter how good we think we are).
Do I indeed derive any pleasure f
rom the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?
And if the virtuous man
turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things
that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair,
or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous
turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked,
turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away
from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Also, no matter how good we think we are, our Lord calls us to do still better, as we hear in today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:20-26):
I tell you,
unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill;
and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
May the Lord Jesus have mercy on us, give us the gifts of true repentance and forgiveness, and deepen within us the perfect love and faith that he calls us to live.