January 26, 2020
“Follow me,” Jesus says, and four young men immediately leave what they are doing to be with him. It is impossible to know what was in their hearts the moment they embarked on this unknown road. Maybe Jesus’ words excited their imagination and stirred hope for a world very different from the one in which they lived. Poverty was everywhere. Nutrition was poor, work was hard, food insecurity was constant, and life expectancy was short. Meanwhile, Rome kept order with the ever-present threat of brutality.
The morning news in Palestine surely wearied the heart as much as the conflict and violence that fill our screens all day, every day. Amid disheartening realities, Jesus offers a beautiful hope: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
“Repent” is not a moralistic demand. The word literally means to go beyond your current mindset. Jesus’ proclamation draws us into the new reality he brings, inviting us to see and participate in the world in a fundamentally different way. The kingdom of heaven was near: Jesus’ words and healings restored lives and hopes. Through Jesus, the light of God’s mercy had dawned in a new way, especially on those who were suffering.
The kingdom also brings healing to us, right here and now. It touches hearts with God’s loving presence. It comforts and gives hope to those wounded by life. It announces God’s forgiveness. It calls for justice for the poor and pours divine mercy on the oppressed and vulnerable. It creates a new community with a gracious, world-embracing mission.
Jesus calls to us, “Follow me. I want you to share my life and mission, and I want to share in your joys and disappointments. I want you to talk with me every evening and welcome each morning as a fresh opportunity to share the light of heaven with weary hearts.”
Follow me, he says. You will see the world in a whole new way.
From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2019 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.