Jan 232014

By Fr. Andrew Kelly
In Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 4:12-23): “… Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
“To proclaim” implies that Jesus’ word powerfully stirs hearts to radical and total conversion to Jesus’ ways which are the ways of the kingdom of heaven. This is what it means to “repent.”
Immediately, Matthew’s Gospel gives a practical example of what radical and total conversion is all about. Peter, Andrew, James and John drop their ordinary lives on the spot when Jesus proclaims: “Follow me…”
The 2014 community’s heart and soul is as stirred by Jesus’ proclaimed word as Peter, Andrew, James and John were.
Repentance and conversion do not mean that committed relationships and responsibilities are abandoned. “Follow me” in 2014 means that all relationships and responsibilities are now viewed and interpreted in the light of Jesus’ proclaimed word: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The community prays for this every Sunday: “…your kingdom come…”  In other words, may God’s reign penetrate and permeate every breathing moment of all believers and believing communities.
There is an old adage: “Be careful what you pray for.”  It just might mean radical conversion to Jesus’ kingdom ways.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

Scripture Readings for Jan. 26 to Feb. 2
Is 8:23-9:3
1 Cor 1:10-13, 17
Mt 4:12-23 or Mt 4:12-17

2 Sm 5:1-7, 10
Mk 3:22-30

2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19
Mk 3:31-35

2 Sm 7:4-17
Mk 4:1-20

2 Sm 7:18-19, 24-29
Mk 4:21-25

2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17
Mk 4:26-34

2 Sm 12:1-7a, 10-17
Mk 4:35-41

Mal 3:1-4
Heb 2:14-18
Lk 2:22-40 or Lk 2:22-32

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