What would be your response to Jesus’ words?
Reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent (February 21, 2021): GN 9:8-15; PS 25:4-5,6-7,8-9; 1 PT 3:18-22; MK 1:12-15
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
In ways great or small, we are tempted everyday to choose our own self-centered way, our own will. We are tempted to do what gives us the most pleasure or power, or otherwise comes between Christ and us.
In the reading from Mark, generally believed to be the first of the Gospels to be written, we hear Christ’s first words as He began His ministry. “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’” (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus wants all who listen to Him to understand that the time for the Messiah has come at last. John the Baptist proclaimed His arrival and now Jesus Himself brings the Good News that the kingdom of heaven is here. But people must be willing to turn away from sin and to believe in Him and the message of mercy and salvation that He preaches.
However, before Jesus set out on His mission journey, we learn that He had allowed Himself to be prepared for this world-changing task. The Holy Spirit sent Him into the desert for a forty-day period of physical and spiritual trial as well as temptation from Satan. It was such an extreme test that angels came to Him to offer comfort. Jesus never gave in to the temptations, yet they gave Him the experience that the rest of us human beings endure throughout our lives. In ways great or small, we are tempted everyday to choose our own self-centered way, our own will. We are tempted to do what gives us the most pleasure or power, or otherwise comes between Christ and us. Because it is only sin that can do that. Only sin can interfere with the special bond that has existed between us between us since our Baptism. During the days of this season, we need to make a greater effort to pay attention to Biblical readings, especially what Jesus tells His followers and all those who listen to Him. We need to ask ourselves what response we would make if we were hearing those words for the first time. Only if we really believe what Jesus says will we be ready to “repent and believe.” Only then will we be disciples who walk with Him not only through Lent but also through life.