Daily Gospel Reflection - 15 January 2013
After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”
As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” Right away, they left their nets and followed him. After going a little farther, he saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons, in their boat repairing the fishing nets. At that very moment he called them. They followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers.
Jesus and his followers went into Capernaum. Immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and started teaching. The people were amazed by his teaching, for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts. Suddenly, there in the synagogue, a person with an evil spirit screamed, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the holy one from God.”
“Silence!” Jesus said, speaking harshly to the demon. “Come out of him!” The unclean spirit shook him and screamed, then it came out.
Everyone was shaken and questioned among themselves, “What’s this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands unclean spirits and they obey him!” Right away the news about him spread throughout the entire region of Galilee.
I’ve had many conversations about the question, “What is the gospel?” The answer is usually something like, “We’re sinners. G_d is holy. G_d must judge sin. When G_d judges sin, the sentence is hell, eternal conscious torment. But, since G_d is merciful, G_d sent Jesus to die in our place. Since Jesus died for us, we can now be forgiven and have a place in heaven with G_d.”
Please notice that none of that is in Mark’s version. In his version, Jesus says that the gospel, the “good news,” is, “Now is the time! Here comes G_d’s [Realm]!” What does Jesus mean by “now is the time”? In the New Living Translation, this is rendered as, “The time promised by G_d has come at last!” What time is that? “G_d’s Realm!” G_d’s reign. According to Israel’s poets and prophets, it was the time when Israel’s god would come and establish the realm on earth and fix the problems of the world. As we saw yesterday, this coming of G_d would “restore all things.” That is, all of the issues of the world - the injustice, the oppression, the violence, the brokenness, etc. - would be fixed. What Mark is telling us, right at the beginning of his version of the story, is that this is happening in history. Not at some future point. But right then, in the ministry of Jesus!
This is crucial for us today. G_d’s Realm has already come! We’re in the midst of it right now! It’s continuing to grow, to be revealed. Every time we act like Christ, we are manifesting G_d’s Realm. Although it may be hidden, though we many may not see it, G_d’s Realm is here. All around us.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC