Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
The grace of conversion
Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has “granted a place of repentance” (Sir 17,24) to all who would be converted to him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens to God.
The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, "As I live, says the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance" (Ez 18,23) adding, moreover, this gracious declaration: "Repent O house of Israel, of your iniquity. Say to the children of my people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, if you turn to me with your whole heart, and say: Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people." (cf. Is 1,16-20; Neh 9,1)…
Desiring, therefore, that all his beloved should be partakers of repentance, he has, by his almighty will, established [these declarations]. So let us yield obedience to his excellent and glorious will; and imploring his mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours, and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassion.
Saint Clement of Rome