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January 24, 1997     The Message
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January 24, 1997

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24,1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 _Commentary ___ I m _ rurst words of Jesus: First disciples of Jesus GOSpel COmmentary for ble that Mark envisioned some kind pie. Unlike the Gospel of John, the first called in t6, 1997: Third Sun. Year B: cycle of readings for year, began on have been four COncerned with Mark now aside for a while with to his imprison- OUtside the atury historian By FATHER DON DILGER COLUMNIST . _ Is us that into prison by Herod Herod feared that John had too the people, that if he didn't get now, he might regret it later. So John is the public life of Jesus begins in nce from which he came and the situated his hometown of Words in the Gospel of Mark: "The and the kingdom of God is at hand. the gospel." The message con- of John the Baptist's us nothing about Jesus' bap- i.e., that Jesus himself took up practice of baptizing. This we pel of John. It was only L that Jesus seems to have ministry and initiated a min- of the kingdom of God. We are ' on the definition of"the kingdom of Jesus, but it seems most proba- of definitive intervention by God in behalf of his people. Whatever Jesus may have meant by "kingdom of God," our concern has to be the meaning Mark gave to this term. None of our four gospels seems to have worked out exactly what this term was supposed to mean. Recall that Mark wrote about 70 A.D., some forty years after the death of Jesus. Recall that there were two cata- strophes that seem to have been the motivating causes that led him to write, the violent persecution of Christians at Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem and its great temple. With this back- ground and many indications in the body of Mark's gospel, we may conclude that he was convinced that Jesus was about to return as judge. Therefore, the first words Mark attributes to Jesus: "The time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand." Some years later, since the kingdom did not come as Mark expected, the Gospel of Luke will say, "The kingdom of God is within you," and "If anyone says to you the time is fulfilled, don't follow them!" So begins the ministry of Jesus. In Mark's plan Jesus is given only one year of public ministry before his death. Everything has to go fast. The fact that Mark uses the word "immediately" forty- two times, gives readers the impression of Jesus' ministry as a rush of activity from Beginning to end. He must choose disciples to carry on his work. Appropriately they are fishermen. In the future they were to cast their nets not for fish but for peo- this gospel was Simon Peter and Andrew his broth- er. The response is instant. Then James and John. Here also the response is instant. The instant response may seem peculiar because Jesus was unknown. Luke will later recognize the problem and rearrange events so that ,Jesus works some miracles before he calls his first disciples. In both gospels the disciples leave everything to follow Jesus. In Mark poor papa Zebedee is left sitting in the boat with his servants as his sons leave him for Jesus. Since the gospels are read at Mass for our instruction, i.e. to serve as a guide for a Christian way of life, what can we derive from this gospel? As far as the kingdom of God being at hand, let us accept Luke's interpretation of Mark, "The king- dom of God is within you." With this as our princi- ple of action, the immediate response of the disci- ples to Jesus' call, their willingness to leave all things to follow Jesus, become for us an example of our own total response to Jesus in repentance and faith. Recall that Jesus' second statement was: "Repent and believe in the gospel." Some of our Protestant friends have a wonderful expression: "Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Sav- ior?" If the answer is "Yes," then "the kingdom of God is within you." Those who accept Jesus as Lord live in a state of repentance or rejection of sin and "believe in the gospel," the Good News that Jesus saves. We are asked to trust him completely as did those first disciples who, when called, left all immediately to follow Jesus. Other readings: Jonah 3:1.5,10; I Corinthians 7:29.31 National Headquarters .]] 3525 Hampton Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63139 D// ._, Tom Bowman k//// . Serving Southern Indiana v/ 1-800-210-9774 0000npare These Life Insurance Rates Annual Renewable Term (Monthly Rates) rage Amounts $50,000 $100,000 6.88 10.25 6.88 10.25 7.33 11.17 8.92 14.33 11.50 19.50 15.58 27.17 23.09 41.42 35.38 64.59 57.17 105.84 92.34 172.51 AGE 25 3O 35 4O 45 5O 55 60 65 7O FEMALE Coverage Amounts $25,000 3196 4.13 4.44 7.88 10.33 13.33 19.92 29.63 $50,000 5.83 6.i7 6.79 8.38 ,10.63 13.67 18.008 24.59 37.75 57.17 $100,000 8.17 8.83 10.08 13.25 17.75 23.34 32.42 43.00 67.01 102.71 ages and coverage amounts available upon request. 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