The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
January 21, 2024 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 1:14-20
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“Tis the season” is a phrase that many will recognize as connected with the annual celebration of Christmas. Soon we will enter “the Lenten season,” a time for perhaps more prayer and good works. Some will be watching more basketball when we enter “March Madness.” And on and on we go, passing from season to season which invites certain attitudes and activities. We anticipate, we celebrate and then we recall how it went.
Something similar regarding “a season of new possibilities” was in the air when Jesus entered his public life. The Jewish people were hoping for a messiah, someone who would restore better times, like how it was during the glorious reign of King David. Living under the domination of the mighty Roman Empire was not their idea of a good time.
Thus, the power and importance of the words Jesus said when he told his disciples that “the kingdom of God is at hand.” This was clearly Good News to those who believed him. A new season of hope, expectation and possibility had dawned with his arrival. And after his resurrection he again reminded his followers that this “season” will remain until the end it time. Good times are ours.
But is that how we think of this time in which we live? There are major conflicts around the world. Our country is preparing for “the presidential election season” and many are not looking forward to it at all. The economy is struggling. Sickness seems more common. And let’s not forget climate change. Day after day, our news reports lead us to pessimism, even despair, rather than hope.
So maybe we need a reminder that the season of hope and fulfilment that was initiated with the coming of the Christ is still operative. The Spirit of God remains active in our lives. Maybe we need to adjust our vision and notice the good, and not be so obsessed with what’s negative. This does not mean that we ignore the bad stuff, but it does mean that we remain hopeful, even grateful for the lives we now live.
There is great goodness in the world in billions of acts of help, support and encouragement that happen every day in all parts of the world. The Spirit of God is in us and between us although this will rarely make headlines in the daily news reports. That is why it is helpful to be reminded that God’s reign in earth has come and remains! And pray with gratitude that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Everyday. God’s kingdom is at hand.
David M. Thomas, PhD