Apr 2, 2024


‘What must we do?’ ‘
You must repent,’ Peter answered

Now there’s a word that has dropped from common usage.

We used to hear the word must often, as children, at school, and in institutions. Of course that’s still the case with children: you must go to bed, you must eat these greens, you must be home before…”

When we’re teenagers the list of musts seems endless and even (the connection feels appropriate) musty – definition: having a stale, moldy or damp smell, lacking originality or vitality.

So we discard the musts and move on, the musts become a new form of compulsion: I must be free.

At this stage of life many people abandon the musts that others impose. Then we realise that we are left with a chaos which is exhausting, a desert of anything-goes boundary-less musts: I must have fun, I must make money, I must fit in with the crowd, I must follow the fashions.

This is where we meet Peter in today’s first reading, not demanding behaviours and imposing rules but clearly stating clearly that those who want to experience the new life of resurrection Christ offers simply MUST repent – ie turn around, experience metanoia (μετάνοια) meaning changing one’s mind

As the Covid restrictions were lifted a couple of years ago the New Zealand Catholic bishops wrote to parishioners inviting them to return to Mass, not as…

“…the imposition of an external rule but rather the expression of a healthy heart’s desire. While the projects and successes of the world can bring us significant satisfaction, we Catholics are aware of an inner restlessness which reminds us that only God can give the depth of earthly peace and wholeness that we seek. We nurture and savour this relationship with Jesus Christ, who is God-with-us in our own life of prayer and recognise that this always draws us to the Sunday Eucharist which, from the time of the first Christians, has always been an event of encounter with Christ which we cannot live without. Many of us remember a past time when the Sunday obligation was carried as a heavy burden, often motivated by fear. In the absence of such fear, we find a new opportunity to embrace Christ’s gift of the Eucharist as something freely chosen.”  (Complete letter at this link)

Freedom from fear.


That’s exactly what Peter is talking about.

In my Lectionary the brief intro to today’s gospel reading reminds us of the HOW. How to move from external obligation to internal conviction – how to move from good religious practice to adult and mature faith. Mary Magdalen returns from the tomb and meets Jesus’ disciples reporting: I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’

That’s my aim with the Fifth Gospel Sabbatical project: inviting you to share a way in which you have seen the Lord, and telling of how he has spoken to you.

Become a part of the Fifth Gospel Project at this link.


Take an initiative and initiate a cafe table gathering, or join this gathering:

Thursday 11 April 2024 10.00am  Stumble Inn, 200 Mangorei Road, New Plymouth. Joan



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