Marilyn Monroe allegedly once said: “Never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what you wanted”. There is no doubt that she has a point. The problem is that what you wanted once might not be what you want now after further thought.
And this is the issue at stake both in the first reading and the gospel this Sunday. People refuse to give themselves an opportunity to reconsider if what they thought they wanted in the past, is what they truly wanted and still want now. In contrast, God appears as someone who is willing to give us the opportunity, or even the right, to think things better.
The readings this Sunday, written hundreds of years ago are, however, as relevant now as they were back then. Never before has western civilization defended freedom of choice so firmly, which initially sounds like a good thing. But now we find ourselves in a rather absurd situation. We have thrown the baby out with the bathwater! Now that we are totally free to choose and act as we wish, the concept of sin has vanished from our society. And as a result, people are discouraged or even prevented from exercising their freedom to rethink, to think differently, better.
Never before have we been so reluctant to rethink the direction we have given to our lives. Why do we not claim the right that God gives us? Perhaps we are not as free as we thought, and many of the decisions we make individually and collectively are merely driven by fear. Perhaps we are discouraged to rethink our lives to protect us from the pain of regret.
Then listen to the readings again. The sinner who rethinks his life and repents finds life. The tax collectors and prostitutes who regret the direction they once gave to their lives and change find the Kingdom of Heaven. Fear of the pain of regret should not deter us from examining our past and amend our wrong decisions. After all, pain and regret will soon give way to the joy that comes from the love and the forgiveness of God, who does not want us to get bogged down in the errors of the past but have the courage to give our lives a new direction (the right direction).
Fr Daniel Herrero Peña
Sunday September 27th would have been 77th birthday of Fr Freddie. His family has sent some flowers in remembrance of him which we have placed beneath the altar.
Please remember to keep him in your prayers. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.