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A New Attitude

Steve had a short fuse. Most people who knew him would agree that this was true. If something didn’t go his way he would often over react, think the worst of the situation, be angry with those whom he thought were responsible, and then make judgments about the people involved in the “mess up”. 

Steve was having lunch one day with a close friend and was describing the most recent mess that he had to clean up. As he was telling the story, his friend, Joe, was seeing how aggravated Steve was getting. Joe said to him, “Why are you letting this stuff get to you like this? You’re going to end up in the hospital one day if you’re not careful. I know you’re a perfectionist—and you have always been that way, but is this the way you want to live your life? Things don’t always work out the way that you would want them to, and people often make mistakes, but our response to these kinds of situations sometimes adds to the confusion and puts everyone on edge and afraid to make a move. Why do you look at things so negatively all the time? And, in all honesty, do. You want people, especially those closest to you—those you work with—to be afraid of you? How can you have meaningful relationships with others? And you know how all this anger can lead to sinful behavior. It might be good for you to ask God to give you the grace to change your perspective so that you can look at the day to day circumstances of life in a different way.”

As Jesus begins his public ministry he takes up the message that John the Baptist was proclaiming: “From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The word Repent is key here. It means not only to forsake our old sinful ways…repentance means to put on a new attitude because you recognize the presence of God before you. The difference between the message of John and the message of Jesus is that John’s message was one of preparation and Jesus’ message is one of fulfillment. We are now in the presence of the Messiah. The. Presence should have an effect in the way that we live our lives.

In this Gospel passage we also hear of the call of the first four Disciples. There was something in Jesus’ voice and in his gaze that had a deep effect on them. The effect would eventually transform these men. And the same is supposed to happen with each of us. Being in the presence of the Lord should also have a profound effect on us. “Thus, just like the disciples, we are invited to cooperate in our own refashioning by taking the decisive first step that will put an end to our “old existence” and usher in a new era of grace and divine companionship.”

Some of us, after many years of calling ourselves Christians or Catholics have still not taken the decisive step of acknowledging who Christ is in our life and begin the cooperation with the Lord that will bring us to newness. There’s nothing worse, I old think, that feeling trapped or stuck in our old ways and feeling guilt about our sins and weaknesses. So, when we repent we are not just asking to be forgiven, we are asking for newness of life—a freedom from fear and guilt or depression. We begin to have confidence and trust which leads to hope. In my view, a much better place to be!

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