In the Gospel reading from Mark 6, we see Jesus sending out the Twelve. He tells them what they need to do. So what do they do?
“So they went off and preached repentance.” Gee, I’ll bet that made them really popular guys! Let’s assume that telling people they need to repent is not going to get you invited to a lot of office parties. Or even church functions, for that matter. I’m certain that was the case in the days of the Apostles, too. In every time and place, no one likes to hear that they need to repent. It is an eternally unpopular message. Yet it is one that needs to be preached; perhaps now more than ever.
We don’t like to even think about preaching repentance. Why? For one, we feel like hypocrites, right? I mean, I don’t know anyone who needs to repent more than me! So how can I tell others to repent? Second, we’re afraid that people will brand us “judgmental.” Oh, if only I had a nickel for every time someone called me that! And here is the part that may be the hardest (for some) to come to grips with: It seems that even the Church has stopped preaching repentance. I'm afraid that too many of our leaders fancy this life as a popularity contest. Pray for our hierarchy. Pray that they may imitate the Apostles whom they succeeded, and once again preach repentance.
Father, give us the courage to confront evil and wrongdoing in ourselves, and in the world. Send out our clergy, and us, to preach repentance and forgiveness. Amen.