Gospel Commentary (Sunday, January 22, 2012 – Mk 1:14-20)

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.”

Our Lord spoke 2,000 years ago that “the kingdom of God is at hand.” 

  • So, it would seem that the kingdom was near BACK THEN (since He was there among the people), but NOT near at hand NOW, since we are so separated from that time and place.

  • Don’t we feel closer to the time of WWII than we do the time of the Ancient Roman conquests?

  • However, the amazing and wonderful truth is that the kingdom of God is at hand NOW just as much as it was then.

  • The kingdom of God is immanent TODAY, NOW for every human heart…for all of our hearts tonight.

  • This is the invitation, but what is the proper response?

    • “Repent and believe in the gospel”

    • To repent is to seek conversion – to regret our failings, detest our sins

    • But repenting is not only about turning AWAY (from our sins), but it is really about turning TOWARD (the infinite love and mercy of God).

    • It is an internal shift, moving toward God, Our Father, and discovering (for the first time or over again) His inexhaustible Love.

  • Our Lord tells us to “repent” … it seems like this means once and for all.

    • But we are humans…we fail.  Even St. Paul says, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom. 7:15)

    • So repentance and conversion are actually daily tasks.  Even hour by hour.

    • Conversion is a constant dialogue with God, who is always more merciful and compassionate than we can imagine.

    • We sincerely ask Him for forgiveness when we fall (and as soon as we fall) and for His help to do better.

    • Conversion then becomes a permanent attitude, a way of life.

  • True conversion only flows from a genuine experience of the love God gives us and the love we give Him in return

    • Sometimes, conversion is motivated by an intellectual understanding of God’s great love and mercy.

    • Sometimes, it is motivated by fear of punishment or realization of the truly horrible squalor of living sinfully

    • Sometimes, it is motivated by an emotion, a fleeting happiness about things having to do with God.  This comes naturally whenever living the Christian life is easy or immediately gratifying.

    • It is hard to keep up the daily struggle to keep on converting interiorly. This is often very difficult for us.

    • The only way we can persevere in our daily struggle for conversion is genuine, and daily, PRAYER.  We need to ask God’s mercy for our failings and His grace to do better.

      • Keep in mind that, even though the process of conversion is a daily one, we aren’t just spinning our wheels each day.  We grow and get better over time.

        • Just like when someone learns to play a sport (like basketball), many things are difficult at first and the person is not very good at it.

        • But over time, that same 3-point shot that was basically impossible is now easy and natural.

  • Never give up your process of conversion. 

    • It’s a daily task, but you will grow.

    • “Believe in the gospel”

      • By struggling each day, you will find that over time it is easier and easier to believe in the gospel – the Good News that God is with us and we are His children!

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