If you’re under the impression that our Lord’s mission was to come and make sure we feel good about ourselves just as we are, without ever changing, you might want to read the below Gospel again. In this passage from Luke, Jesus condemns the people around him by talking about when Jonah came and how the people of Nineveh repented. He told them that there was something even greater than Jonah there! Jesus reminds them that there will be a final judgment where they’ll stand side-by-side with those very same people who repented and the Lord will ask them, how did you amend your life? With all the grace you were given, how holy did you become next to how holy they became? How much did you really submit your life to me?
Wow. What cutting questions! It’s a great reminder that Lent is a time to get real. When we get near Jesus, He’s going to call us to get real. There’s a beautiful saying about the downward ascent of Lent. Isn’t that awesome? That when we get low we have to get real. We have to really confront our sins in order to spiritually ascend toward God. Don’t be afraid to do that because He loves you, and His love gives us the courage to face our messiness head on.
While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here. (Luke 11:29-32, NAB from the USCCB)