Thursday, April 24, 2014

2 Corinthians 7:10: Repentance and Salvation

"For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (RSV-CE)

          In the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, there is a beautiful note regarding the godly grief of St. Peter in contrast to the worldly grief of Judas Iscariot.  After denying Christ three times, St. Peter cries tears of contrition at the loving look of our Lord (Matthew 26:75).  Later, at the end of John's gospel, Peter professes his love to Jesus three times (John 21:17).  Judas, instead, hangs himself in despair (Matthew 27:5).
            The world tempts us to wallow in a culture of death, despair, and spiritual deprivation.  Many of us are entrapped in a world of relativism, desperate for the next sensual pleasure and the mirage of an uplifting experience in a lackluster life. But we are blind to this pursuit, for worldly pleasures are a false destination.  We are created for and destined to know, love, and serve God.  The temptation, however, is to embrace the current culture and pleasures of the world, a culture that will consistently fall short and require us to seek more.  That "more," however, is not found in “squandering our inheritance” like that of the prodigal son.  Instead, the “more” we seek is Jesus Christ, and until we pray for the grace to see and choose God, we are stuck in our own spiritual blindness.  This verse speaks clearly to me; it speaks to us all on some level.
            By devoting our lives to Christ, our hearts can finally rest in God's love rather than empty worldly desires. Contextually, St. Paul encourages first century Corinthians to turn toward Jesus and the truth of living for God through Christ.  Let us remember the truth behind Paul's first-century message; it is a message for our modern world, too.