The First Reading tells us in these last days, he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. What the Son says is recorded in the Gospel: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. There are two facts mentioned:
- The time is fulfilled. It means the time of waiting is finished.
- The kingdom of God has come near. God’s rule is near. This gives an image of an army approaching the city. Being occupied by Rome, this is a very present image of an army soon to conquer their city. This approach is inimitable and will surely come.
So what should we do if God’s kingdom is coming? Jesus gives two commands:
- Repent. Repentance goes beyond being sorry for sins. The Greek word literally means with the mind or among the mind. This requires a decision on our part. It means we need to turn around, change our way of thinking.
- Believe in the good news. When we change how we think, we need to believe in the good news. This belief in the good news is not an intellectual belief of a fact. It is a decision to trust in the good news. The good news are the facts Jesus mentioned above: The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God has come near.
For the Jewish listener, it means God’s deliverance is approaching and will come because nothing will stop it. For them, it means there will be deliverance from oppression from their masters, whether it be the Romans or even the Temple leaders. It will be the end of injustice and God’s justice will reign because God will set people free.
God will set them free, not by them obeying the Law or offering sacrifices in the Temple. Jesus shows us how God will set them free: follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Freedom is achieved, not in blind obedience to the Law or to Temple leaders. Freedom is obtained by following Jesus. With this, Jesus turns the center of Hebrew life from the Law, the community and the Temple towards himself.
The First Reading tells us: he is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being. But God’s glory is not seen in the majesty and grandeur of a king, but in the simplicity and humility of the carpenter from Nazareth. Repentance is needed so we can see this true reflection of God’s glory. We need to get rid of our ideas of who God is, how he works, how he should do things. Instead, we must decide to follow him, so he can make us what he wants us to be. The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God will come to our life and we determine how it will come. It will come in mercy and justice. Eternal life when we turn to Jesus and obey him. Eternal death when we reject him. Both will show the mercy and justice of God. This is our choice.
Lord, you call me to follow you. Your kingdom approaches in my life. Set me free, as I turn to you and change the way I see you and relate with you. I allow you to take my life and to do with it as you will, because when you do, you will do great things for me.