We read all sorts of health warnings or advice on diets and the importance of exercise … but all too often we just move on to the next news article and ignore what we’ve just read. We are not willing to change our eating habits. We are not willing to make the effort to go to the gym.
Knowledge without willpower is useless. Schools and the government dedicate much time and money in sex education but this knowledge has not stopped the alarming increase in sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Another example is the tragic problem of world hunger. With modern science, medical advancements and rapid communication, we have the knowledge to solve the problem, but do we have the willpower?
We need a change of heart, we need to repent. In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us to repent and believe the Good News. To repent means to change in two ways: to change our way of thinking and then our way of living. Jesus began his preaching with the message to repent and believe. Notice that he said repent before believe. This is because it may be necessary to make changes within ourselves before we can make an act of faith.
Believing is more than mentally accepting what is said in the Bible or what the Church teaches. There are people who fully believe while they are bitter and cruel. Believing must come with a willingness to change attitudes and behaviour. Believing means giving our hearts to God not only in the way we think but also in the way we act.