By Fr. Andrew Kelly
Sunday the believing community begins to listen again to Mark’s Gospel. The six verses of Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20) set the tone and themes the believing community will be praying about and reflecting upon for all of 2012.
Jesus’ mission, message and ministry begin when John the Baptizer is “arrested” (handed over). Immediately the community is alerted that hanging around with Jesus can be very dangerous. On Passion Sunday the community will hear how Jesus was “handed over” to death and resurrection.
Jesus expects the community to listen, believe and act: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
The community will do what Andrew, Simon, James and John did once they heard Jesus’ call of “Follow me…” They immediately abandoned family and financial security and “followed” Jesus all the way to the cross. This is what disciples do.
A goal of Mark’s Gospel is that the faith of the believing community will be deepened. May this “deepening” be the 2012 community prayer as it listens: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
(Father Andrew Kelly is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mechanicsville.)