Week 1 of Ordinary Time, Monday – 13th January 2020 — Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
Kingdom as a gift and a demand
Mark portrays Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom coming not only as a gift (“good news”), but also with a demand (“to repent”). This proclamation takes place at the time of fulfillment in the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God. Interestingly, Is 60,22 speaks of “the time” when God would bring about the restoration of Israel. Is 61,1 characterizes “the time” of the Lord’s favour as a time of preaching the good news. Is 52,7 connects the preaching of “good news” with the proclamation of God’s reign. Possibly the latter half of Isaiah lies behind Jesus’ eschatological vision, and this is the source of his understanding of the kingdom. Thus, the good news is that God wishes to establish his rule over the world and expects humans to respond to build his kingdom. It is the same God who promises the kingdom to sinners by their repentance and who calls disciples to give up all that they have to follow him. The four disciples with their willingness to throw themselves completely for Jesus illustrate that Jesus is their gift and he demands everything of them.