As strange as It seems to many, I do not drive. My father did begin to teach me, but I had no real enthusiasm. When I was very young, I did rather think I would like a “Bubble Car”.
Bubble cars are a kind of Microcar mostly produced in Germany during the 1950-60. The term ‘Microcar’ is used for the smallest size of car with three or four wheels and often an engine smaller than 700 cc Microcars are classified by governments separately to normal cars, sometimes using the same regulations as motorcycles or mopeds. Therefore, compared with normal cars, microcars often have relaxed requirements for registration and licensing, and can be subject to lower taxes and insurance costs.
Now You may be thinking that the link to our Gospel reading is ‘Tax’. Jesus sees Levi, sitting at the tax office and invites him to ‘follow’. Levi then entertains Jesus with a great feast, at which there is a great number of tax collectors. Bubble cars, as stated above, are subject to lower tax and relaxed requirements.
So, there is a link, but it’s not the one. (Bear with me!)
I once heard that a well-known celebrity owned a Bubble Car and used it to drive to an audition. Seeing a parking space at the studio he drove straight into it and stopped in front of a wall just ahead of the time of his audition. Now, what he had forgotten was that most Bubble Cars do not have a reverse gear, and as you can see from the picture above, a bubble car has one door and that is at the front of the vehicle! So, unable to open the door because he had pulled up to a wall and not having a reverse gear, and in the days before mobile phones, the celebrity missed his audition and remained stuck in his car until his yells were heard by a kindly passer-by.
For many people, driving without a reverse gear would be unthinkable.; how would you ever get out of the garage? There are times when one needs to go backwards to go forwards. (here comes the link!).
A reverse gear may only be needed a few times a day, but it is essential when you need to back your car up!
In v32 of our gospel reading Jesus says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance”. Repentance is like having a reverse gear; You don’t just do it once. You do it daily and maybe 4 or 5 times a day!
In fact, there can be no forward motion in ‘Christlikeness’ without repentance. You cannot journey with our Lord without reversing–and reversing often. Becoming and being a disciple of Jesus requires repentance all the time. Every time we repent it is an opportunity to move forward. There is no other way to get out of the garage!
It is, of course essential, that we fully understand what is meant by ‘Repentance’
Repentance is the feeling and act in which one recognizes and tries to right a wrong or gain forgiveness from someone whom he/she has wronged. For those of us who profess the Christian faith, repentance usually refers to repenting for a sin against God. It always includes an admission of guilt, and also includes at least one of the following:
In the New Testament, the word translated as 'repentance' is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia). Metanoia is primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, "change of mind and heart", or, "change of consciousness".
Repentance is often viewed as a negative. Indeed, there is a negative aspect to repentance in that it has to do with the past and presupposes the recognition of an abnormal state of affairs, a wrong direction, a state of sin. When one begins to repent one is recognising that he/she is on the wrong road and needs to change direction.
There is however a positive aspect to repentance too! This has to do with the future and opens up a new way for the repentant sinner, a new way of life, a radical reorientation, a new road to travel.
Thus repentance is on the one hand an acknowledgment and cessation of sin, and on the other hand a resolve to accept the challenge of a new life, a new road to journey upon.
According to general scholarship, the first recorded words of Jesus are recorded in Mark 1:15 (as it was considered the first Gospel that was written):
"This time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel."
There was nothing new in this call to repentance; Elijah told the people to repent, Isaiah told the people to repent, Joel told the people to repent, Jonah told the people to repent, Jeremiah, Micha, Amos and Malachi all had a message of repentance.
And that message hasn’t changed!
This mainly contains homilies and messages from our priests, although there is some scope to share thoughts and interesting articles which we may want to share with others