Called to repent

Next Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Advent in Year A, Gaudete Sunday. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

2 When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him 3 with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 4 Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. 6 And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” 7 As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. 9 Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:2-11) Continue reading

Following: trust

repent-n-believeRepent and Believe. John Williamson, (Mark, p.43) offers this analogy which “may capture some (not all) dimensions of this summary of the preaching of Jesus.”

In a crowded airline terminal, hundreds of persons are scurrying in dozens of directions. Above the steady buzz of noise a voice booms through a loud-speaker, “Flight 362 is now arriving at gate we. Will passengers holding tickets for New York please check in at gate 23; you will be boarding soon.” Some people, of course, never hear the announcement and continue on their way. Others hear it but, having reservations on another flight, pay no attention. Some, however, who want to go to New York and who have been nervously awaiting such an announcement, look up expectantly, check their ticket for the flight number, gather their baggage, turn around and set out with some urgency for gate 23. Continue reading

Following: calling

Calling disciplesCalling the Disciples – From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The very wording of the passage indicates a fresh start, a new phase of Jesus’ activity. At the heart of this new ministry is the proclamation of a message identical with that of John the Baptist (3:2), and later to be echoed by Jesus’ disciples (10:7). Jesus calls for a decisive response to a new situation, the arrival in his ministry of the kingdom of heaven. Continue reading

The kingdom at hand: repent

john-the-baptistLuke introduces the ministry of John the Baptist with a careful historical introduction listing the year, the emperor, the rulers of the surrounding territories, and the high priest who was in office. Matthew introduces John’s ministry with a very general, “in those days.” The point is not that Matthew was unaware of the interval of about thirty years that he is passing over. Rather, his purpose was to show that the birth of Christ and the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry are part of the same flow of God’s activity in salvation history. There are two major sections within this passage. Verses 1-6 introduce the ministry of John the Baptist while verses 7-12 summarize the message of John. Continue reading

Come after me: trust

repent-n-believeRepent and Believe. John Williamson, (Mark, p.43) offers this analogy which “may capture some (not all) dimensions of this summary of the preaching of Jesus.”

In a crowded airline terminal, hundreds of persons are scurrying in dozens of directions. Above the steady buzz of noise a voice booms through a loud-speaker, “Flight 362 is now arriving at gate we. Will passengers holding tickets for New York please check in at gate 23; you will be boarding soon.” Some people, of course, never hear the announcement and continue on their way. Others hear it but, having reservations on another flight, pay no attention. Some, however, who want to go to New York and who have been nervously awaiting such an announcement, look up expectantly, check their ticket for the flight number, gather their baggage, turn around and set out with some urgency for gate 23. Continue reading