At times we can wonder if our world even believes in sin anymore.  There is such a focus on the goodness of people even as we see our world slowly crumbling away around us because of all of the wars and hatreds and conflicts.

In the scripture readings for today we read: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,” and “I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin.”

We can ask why there is so much focus on sin on this Third Sunday of Easter?  Perhaps because the Gospel today tells us “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

At times we can wonder if our world even believes in sin anymore.  There is such a focus on the goodness of people even as we see our world slowly crumbling away around us because of all of the wars and hatreds and conflicts.

Jesus comes to be our Saviour, but so many today do not want a Saviour.  Instead, we want pleasure, money and the good time.  We should not be surprised that the world is a mess.  The world has always been a mess and that is why a Saviour came for us.  But salvation is never imposed on us.  Instead, we are invited to live our lives in the way our Saviour taught us and actually know the difference in our way of life.

Easter is about the death of Jesus and then His Resurrection.  Each of us is invited to share in that death and resurrection and to die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ Jesus and live the way that He lived.  His followers did not believe at first that He was raised from the dead.  Instead, they had fled from the whole situation and only after a few brave women began to visit the tomb did the word go out:  He is not there! 

We are invited in this time of Easter to deepen our faith in the risen Christ by renewing again the promises of our Baptism:  to die to self and to live in the Lord.  Words are easy and actions can be costly.  Once we actually understand and believe, however, that Christ is truly risen, then our lives can change.  There is no one else who has ever done this.  There is no one else who has invited us to share in the divine life.  There is no one else who promises to be with us always.

We can ask ourselves:  Can I truly preach forgiveness of sins?  Do I really trust that my own sins are forgiven?  Do I know that Christ died and then was raised to life and through this mystery , our whole world was changed forever?

Pope  Francis explained how the Church is a great school of prayer. As children, he said, we learn our first prayers on the laps of grandparents and parents, who also give their advice inspired by the Gospel. Later, the experience of faith and prayer is deepened through encounters with other witnesses and teachers of prayer, such as in the life of a parish and every Christian community which is marked by liturgical and community prayer.

Prayer and difficulties of life:

“The garment of faith is not starched, but develops with us.  It is not rigid, it grows, even through moments of crisis and resurrection. You cannot grow without moments of crisis, because crisis makes you grow.”

And the breath of faith is prayer: we grow in faith inasmuch as we learn to pray. After certain moments in life, we become aware that without faith we could not have made it through and that our strength was prayer. We realize that not only personal prayer, but also that of our brothers, sisters and the community, whom we requested, also accompanied and supported us.”

“In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus poses a dramatic question that always makes us reflect: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”  Or,  will He only find organizations, like a group of ‘faith entrepreneurs,’ all well organised, doing charity and many things?” That, , is why Jesus insists on the “need to pray with perseverance without getting tired.” Hence, the lamp of faith will always be lit on earth as long as there is the oil of prayer.”   

The Pope said it is prayer that carries forward our prayer and our poor, weak, sinful life with certainty. Therefore, Christians should ask themselves whether they pray and how they pray. “Do I pray like a parrot or from the heart? Do I pray feeling part of the Church and praying for its needs, or do I pray a little according to my needs, letting my ideas become prayer,” the Pope asked. “This is pagan prayer, not Christian prayer,” he said.

“The essential task of the Church, then, is to pray and to teach how to pray, transmitting “the lamp of faith and the oil of prayer from generation to generation. Without the light of this lamp, he said evangelisation would not be possible and we would not be able to draw near and serve our brothers and sisters. “For this reason,” the Pope said, “the Church, as the house and school of communion, is the house and school of prayer.” 

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