The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” That sounds more like a Lenten message than one of Ordinary Time, doesn’t it? The message from Jesus as he continues to gather his disciples is clear; things are about to change. The kingdom of God is here and now. I wonder how the disciples of Jesus understood this. Can you imagine having a teacher come into our world today and tell us like St. Paul told the early Christians, “time is running out . . . for the world in its present form is passing away”? The first reaction might be one of fear. But what we know from the gospel is that the disciples upon hearing that the kingdom of God is at hand, left their homes and their families to follow Jesus. Can you imagine being so convinced by a new teacher in your midst that you would change your life completely? That you would walk away from your chosen work (fishermen for the disciples) only to be told that Jesus would make you fishers of men. What did that even mean?
This is what I love about Scripture; the more you read it and really examine it, the more questions you have about how all of it unfolded. It is a beautiful and powerful story and the story is about us – the people of God. Upon hearing the Word proclaimed we are always challenged by what God might be calling us to – today. The kingdom of God is now. Time is running out. The world in its present form is passing away. This can sound ominous and a bit scary. Or, it can give us hope for this story is the story of our salvation. The message of Jesus to his disciples and to us was that we need to wakeup, look around, be engaged and live lives worthy of God's love and promise.
Each and every generation, from the first disciples to the disciples of today, have pondered many of the same questions: Just what is God calling us to? What is it that God desires we understand? How will we know if we are doing the right thing? How long must we live in this way? What if we fail? What happens then? What Jesus taught answered all those questions and more. Not in a simplistic way. Rather in a way that continually challenges us to become the person God created us to be. For in achieving that we will be rewarded with joy and peace, love and kindness in this world and we will live with the sure and certain hope of eternal life with God. Let us all take the gospel message to heart for ourselves and for all people with whom we share life. Let us live as Jesus taught and believe in the messages that God speaks to us in the Word. Doing so means taking time to read, re-read, question, reflect and act upon the Word, not only at Mass, but each and every day of our lives.
In this time of fulfillment,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC