Letter: Lenten season calls for attention to God’s demands

“I bring you good news of greatest Joy!” … “Repent and believe the Gospel.” It is a universal attribute of all mankind to cherish receiving a precious gift and good news. However, there are qualifications to receiving that good news and precious gift.

A recent poll commissioned by the Vatican revealed that nearly three-fourths of baptized Catholics reject the moral teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ given to them through His church. If this is correct, it is no wonder that bureaucratic despots have felt free rein to trample on the God-given rights of citizens.

The liturgical season of Lent calls every Christian not only to “repent” and receive the Good News but also to respond to its loving demands. The sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer should resound from every pulpit in America.

“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without Church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.

“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has to purchase it. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Our Lord Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. It is costly because it cost our Lord Jesus his life.”

America and the world are on the brink; not only of destruction, but of a worse calamity: life without God. An empty pursuit for love which will have no origin or source, leaving man to pursue the emptiness of pleasure without purpose.

Bonhoeffer spoke to the clergy of Europe about their failure to condemn the errors of Nazism and communism as he would speak to America today about the errors of secular humanism. “We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretense; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open … Are we still of any use?”

Let not our Lord’s words be directed to us this Lent: “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:3

Richard Mahoney

cardiopulmonary technologist

Baton Rouge