Jesus embodies the change of mind, heart and behavior that the Gospel entails. The kingdom of God belongs to those who conform to this change and clothe themselves with Jesus.
With the arrest of John the Baptist, a painful change enters his life. But God does not allow it without some reason (cf. SV.EN VII:304). And in fact, the change triggers the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.
Jesus begins his public ministry proclaiming the Gospel of God. He says:
This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.
In effect, he teaches that we will not enter the kingdom of God unless we conform to the change that the Gospel asks.
And Jesus goes concretizing throughout his ministry what this repentance, this change, is about. But suffice it to say for now that to repent and to believe in the Gospel means, first and foremost, to go after Jesus.
To follow Jesus represents a basic change.
Following him is exchanging the path of the self-centered for the path of those who recognize someone mightier than they. To go after him and answer his call is to leave behind also the way of domination and power. It is letting go, moreover, of our self-righteousness and welcoming divine mercy without borders. It reaches out to the Ninevites.
Undoubtedly, the world takes as models the rich and the powerful who look out only for their interests. The true followers of Jesus, on the other hand, know that it is not about them, but about him. And he is their model. They learn from him to be active in the world as though not active. He also is the one who exemplifies the virtues of reverence toward the Father and charity toward human beings (SV.EN VI:413).
Jesus, then, is the one who truly shows us total selflessness and gives us a model to follow. He wants us to be as selfless as he is, to the end, to the giving up of the body and the shedding of blood. No, Providence will not allow it without some reason.
Lord Jesus, make us follow you faithfully. And give us the grace to be able to conform to the change of mind, heart and behavior that you teach us by word and deed.
21 January 2018
3rd Sunday in O.T (B)
Jon 3, 1-5. 10; 1 Cor 7, 29-31; Mk 1, 14-20