Monday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
*Note: We will be mainly following Mark’s Gospel in these daily Gospel reflections.
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”
Now is the time. Mark uses the Greek word kairos, which means the appointed time or the favored time. The reading for today, the first day of Ordinary Time, reminds me of a professor who walks into the first class of the year and immediately launches into an overview of the course. The first twenty minutes of the lecture telegraph that this semester will move along at a good clip. Looking for a blow-off course? Here’s your cue to look elsewhere. Resolve to keep up with the readings and assignments, and you’ll learn something worth while.
Today’s Gospel has a sense of urgency. Today, in this moment, the kingdom of God draws near. God’s Good News — the Gospel — demands a response, and it will not leave us unaffected. God’s call is magnetic. Simon, Andrew, James, and John drop everything to follow Jesus. Matthew’s parallel account of this scene (4:19-22) gives us a sense that more was involved in the call of the first disciples, but Mark stresses that the kingdom of God is at hand now. Do something about it now.
The endless stream of ordinary “now” moments is the setting for the kingdom of God in our real world. This present moment is the place of God’s gift to us, and our gift to God. Neither the past with its mistakes or triumphs, nor the future with all its variables, concerns us now. We can play the game of should-have-been and could-have-done, but it doesn’t change reality. We can imagine ourselves in wonderfully ideal circumstances or cringe at foreseeable calamities, but the future is never as rosy or bleak in the way that we’ve imagined it. All we have is today. God call us today. Jesus passes by this morning, and he proclaims the Good News: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”
Lord, the spotlight of holiday festivities is over, and now it is back to the day-to-day routine. Welcome to the “ordinary time” of my life. This present moment is where we meet. You are fully here. Am I fully here too? Lord, you know how much time and energy I spend rehashing past events as well as dreaming of or dreading the future. Help me to live this moment to the full. I want to be here with you — now. May your kingdom come in the midst of my daily routine.
May your kingdom come in the midst of my daily routine.