My Dear People,
Jesus is asking for repentance from the people, so that they will always be ready. They will never know when they are going to die. This is the main reason behind what Jesus is saying in the Gospel today in regard to the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices, and the ones who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell.
The fact that these people died in this way does not mean that they were worse than others, for God does not always punish sinners in this life. All of us are sinners, meriting a much worse punishment than temporal misfortune: we merit eternal punishment; but Christ has come to atone for our sins, he has opened the gates of heaven. We must repent of our sins; otherwise God will not free us from the punishment we deserve. “When you meet with suffering, the cross, your thought should be: what is this compared with what I deserve?”
Jesus tells us that, without Holy Baptism, no one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Jn 3:5); and, elsewhere, that if we do not repent, we will all perish (Lk. 13:3). This is all easily understood. Ever since man sinned, all his senses rebel against reason; therefore, if we want the flesh to be controlled by the spirit and by reason, it must be mortified; if we do not want the body to be at war with the soul, it and all our senses need to be chastened; if we desire to go to God, the soul with all its faculties needs to be mortified: (St. John Mary Vianney, Selected Sermons, Ash Wednesday).
Our Lord tells us that we need to produce plenty of fruit in keeping with the graces we have received (cf. Lk 12:48). But he also tells us that God waits patiently for this fruit to appear; he does not want the death of the sinner; he wants him to be converted and to live and, as St. Peter teaches, he is “forgiving towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). But God’s clemency should not lead us to neglect our duties and become lazy and comfort-seeking, living sterile lives. He is merciful, but he is also just and he will punish failure to respond to his grace. So this is a time of Grace. Lent is a time of grace
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Vincent Clemente