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Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Married woman, Religious

My dear encountered couples:

Retribution is an important part of repentance – first comes the sorrow, and then the payback. What am I talking about?

Zacchaeus was thrilled to see Christ. He even climbed a tree so he could get a better view. We can be sure he was out of himself with joy when Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for dinner. He was so happy that he promised to give back all the money he had stolen from people.

“I give half my belongings, Lord, to the poor. If I have defrauded anyone in the least, I pay him back fourfold.” And what did Jesus say to him? “Today salvation has come to this house.”

Zacchaeus not only had sorrow for his sins but he promised to make amends for them. From what he said, he was already doing that. He seems to have already been giving to the poor, already paying back what he had chiseled out of people by charging them higher taxes than what they owed and pocketing the extra.

Retribution, paying back what we have stolen, repairing any damages we have caused, at least as well as we can, is a very important part of repentance. It not only helps to prove we are sincere in our sorrow; it impresses upon us the effects of our sins.

Love might mean we don’t have to say “I’m sorry,” but it sure doesn’t mean we don’t have to show just how sorry we are.

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