THE CLEANSING WATERS OF RE-BIRTH. In Luke’s Gospel, the baptism of Jesus marks the end of the ministry of John the Baptist and the beginning of a new era, that of the saving ministry of Jesus. This feast, which occurs early in the New Year, is a good time for us to resolve to begin a new era in our own lives. Putting the past behind us, let us commit ourselves to making a fresh start in our service and love of our brothers and sisters.
Monday, January 14, 2019 (Lec. 305)
1) Hebrews 1:1-6
2) Mark 1:14-20
Gospel related: CCC 541, 787, 1423, 1427 CSDC 49
FOCUS: This is the time of fulfillment, the kingdom of God is at hand.
Liturgically, today is a “first” day. It is the first Monday of Ordinary Time. But we shouldn’t confuse ordinary with commonplace. Ordinary actually refers to “ordered” time in the Church – a period when we can gradually get to know Jesus better.
During this time we are called to a conversion in Christ, whereby we journey with him through his ministry. Our first reading from Hebrews tells us that God spoke to his people first through the prophets, but is now speaking to us through his Son. As such, we start today with the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as told by Mark in his Gospel.
Mark cuts to the chase. With his very first words, Jesus announces God’s intervention into history – the time of fulfillment. This is a turning point in salvation history. Through Jesus, God is fulfilling the promises he made through the prophets. Jesus announces that the kingdom of God is at hand. It still is today.
Then he asks us to repent and believe. By repenting, we not only ask for God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation, but make a promise to turn away from sin – to change our lives. By believing in the Gospel, we say we trust Jesus. We come to follow Jesus. Like the Apostles, we drop our nets and walk with him.
The Church is not telling us to abandon our jobs as the Apostles did. But we are called to make everything else in our lives secondary to our discipleship. Each one of us is part of the body of Christ – the Church. As such, we become part of the Church’s mission of “proclaiming and communicating… Jesus Christ” (CSDC 49). And by proclaiming, we become fishers of men.
We are all used to making commitments at the start of Lent to improve our spiritual lives. But why wait until then? Let us start today to make a determined effort to get to know Jesus intimately through daily Scripture reading. We can better repent, and believe in the Gospel, as Jesus directs us today, if we know the Gospel better. After all, this is the time of fulfillment, it is the first day of the rest of our eternal lives.