1st Sunday – Lent, year B

Mark 1:12-15

 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[a] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,”he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Reflection.
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The beginning of Jesus’ preaching of the Good News of God in Galilee

By Fr. Paul Medina, Ocarm

The arrest of John made Jesus go back and begin his proclamation of the Good News. It was an explosive beginning! Jesus goes throughout Galilee, its villages, towns and cities (Mk 1: 39). He visits communities. He even changes his residence and goes to live in Capernaum (Mk 1:21; 2:1), a city at the crossroads, which made it easy for him to spread the message. He almost never stays in the same place, he is always on the move. The disciples accompany him everywhere, on the beach, on the road, on the mountain, in the desert, in the boat, in the synagogues, in the houses. They are full of enthusiasm.

Jesus helps people by serving them in several ways: he drives out evil spirits (Mk 1:39), he heals the sick and afflicted (Mk 1: 34), purifies those marginalised on account of the laws concerning purity (Mk 1: 40-45), welcomes the marginalised and treats them with familiarity (Mk 2: 15). He proclaims, calls, convokes, attracts, consoles, helps. He reveals his passion, passion for the Father and for the poor and abandoned people of his land. Wherever there are people who will listen to him, he speaks and conveys the Good News of God. Everywhere!

Jesus reveals everything that animates him from within. Not only does he proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, but he himself is a figure and a living witness of the Kingdom. In him we see what happens when someone allows God to rule, to take possession of his/her life. By his life and manner of acting, Jesus reveals what God had in mind when he called the people at the time of Abraham and of Moses. Jesus put to rest a nostalgia and transformed it into hope. Suddenly it became clear for the people: “This is what God was asking for when he called us to be his people!”. The people savoured listening to Jesus. Such was the beginning of the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom, which spread rapidly through the villages of Galilee. It started small like a seed, but grew to become a large tree, where people could find shelter (Mk 4: 31-32). Then the people themselves began to spread the news.

The people of Galilee were impressed by the way Jesus taught. “A new doctrine is taught with authority, not like that of the Scribes” (Mk 1: 22.27). Teaching was what Jesus mostly did (Mk 2: 13; 4:1-2; 6:34). It was his custom (Mk 10:1). Over fifteen times, the Gospel of Mark says that Jesus taught. But Mark almost never says what he taught. Perhaps he was not interested in the content? It depends on what we mean by content. Teaching is not just a matter of passing on new truths to people. The content that Jesus preached manifests itself not only through his words, but also through his actions and in the manner of his relating to people. The content is never divorced from the person who communicates it. Good content without personal goodness is like spilt milk.

 Mark defines the content of Jesus’ teaching as “the Good News of God” (Mk 1: 14). The Good News that Jesus proclaimed comes from God and reveals something about God. All that Jesus says and does, manifest the traits of the face of God. They manifest the experience that Jesus has of God as Father. Revealing God as Father is the source, while the content is the object of the Good News of Jesus.

 

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