July 18, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today’s good news is in Mark 1:14-15.
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
This is God’s good news that Jesus is proclaiming. By changing the way I think and act I can live in the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven as Matthew writes. The time of fulfillment of God’s promise, his offer of heaven, is now. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection that time of fulfillment is still offered to me. It’s not in the past, an opportunity lost. It is this time, this moment, this day.
What is the good news? It is God’s unconditional love and compassion and mercy. It is at hand, a reality, when I have faithful to the great command: to love God — to be in union with Him; to love myself — to accept and love the dimensions I embrace as well as the characteristics I want to be rid of; and to love all of you — to forgive slights and to refrain from judgment and rejection of those I don’t agree with. No wonder the kingdom of God seems so far away!
Jesus tells me to believe the promise of the good news. I do believe. It’s the acting on that belief that is so hard! Jesus believed the good news by striving to be one with God, by trusting God’s love for him, and by demonstrating his belief through his actions. I have been getting the message that I need to spend time meditating, contemplative prayer. I’ve tried it on and off over the years, not for long and not with great success. I resist stilling my mind and body. I resist resting in God and letting Him flood my senses and my whole being if even for just a moment. There’s always something more important to think about or do!
This is the time of fulfillment, Jesus tells me. This is the time for me to repent, to change. Not tomorrow, not when I don’t have anything to do. Maybe if I start with just five minutes in the morning when I awake, I can manage to give God a chance to fill me with His Spirit. There is a sense of urgency in Jesus’ words today that is compelling me to change. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” I would do well to recite that every morning.