Before the recent changes made to the Roman Missal, our Ash Wednesday observance included a formulation for the distribution of ashes that read, “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the gospel.” With the new translation we now say, “Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
While I agree that the new translation more precisely reflects the meaning of our Lenten experience, there is something about the old translation that speaks to my heart.
I was thinking about that when I read today’s gospel passage from Luke. Jesus meets a tax collector named Levi (in Greek, “Matthew”), and invites him to follow him. Levi does just that. Leaving everything behind, he follows Jesus. In essence, he turns away from his sin, the sin that has been a millstone around his neck, and embraces the gospel.
Like Matthew the tax collector, today let us turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel!