By Sr Nancy Usselmann, FSP
This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. ~ Mark 1:14-20
With all the challenges the world faces, I believe that like in any era of human history, the Lord and Master calls out to all humanity, saying, “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Now is a good time as any to take this to heart.
If we want love in the world, we are called by Jesus to repent from our unloving ways. And what are those seemingly unloving ways? Impatience with other people’s faults and failings, frustration with our own sinfulness, the despair of hope in the midst of trials, angry refusal to forgive wrongs, dismissal of those who disagree with us…and the list goes on and on.
Hope in Jesus
When I read the Gospel for today, I am convinced that God is bigger than all our human problems. With Jesus, there is hope for a future that is not removed from suffering but instead is transformed. Life has meaning even with the struggle and pain that we endure. This, too, will pass. This, too, will become part of our checkered history—the struggle for decency where everyone is heard and respected, the struggle of humanity with all our sinfulness yearning for eternal life.
The good news is that the Gospel does not remain at only repentance. Jesus offers something so much more when we do change from our self-centered lifestyles. There’s a promise. He says, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He is giving us a mission! If we truly want love in the world, then we must put love in the world.
Reach Out to Neighbors
It begins with me. He calls his disciples to change from their small-minded ways that foment antagonism and instead to open their hearts to the whole world, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations…” (Mt 28:19). This promise is the broad-mindedness of God. We change so as to reach out to our neighbor to share the Good News of Jesus, to proclaim that Love has come into the world to save us, to bring us new light and new hope!
Let’s go forth today to be that light and hope for the people we live with and those with whom we connect during the week. When we say to the Lord, “I believe,” we are really saying, “I will be that change that I wish to see in the world,” using the words of Mahatma Gandhi.
Jesus Master, you are the only Master, the One who challenges me to convert from my selfishness in order to reach out to others in self-giving love. Help me to be your love in the world today by the choices I make to grow in patience, respect, compassion, and humility.
Call to Action
Today I will spend ten minutes in personal examination of my attitudes and actions that hinder love and will do one loving act that concretely counteracts the hatred that I see in the world.