LENTEN TALK: THIS IS A TIME FOR FULFILLMENT
By VERY REV. MSGR. GABRIEL OSU
We should read Genesis 9:8-15; Pt.3:18-22 and Mark 1:12-15. 'The gloom and doom' of another season of Lent is upon us. It's time to break out the ashes, sackcloth, and grim faces. We need to form a Puritan list of all the things we will give up. Perhaps if we are more modern and come of age, we have a list of all the positive things we will do.
Even Jesus must venture into the desert and be tested or tempted by Satan. If we think our neighbours are bad, pity poor Jesus. He was surrounded by wild beasts! Only after being tempted was Jesus free to begin the public ministry with his central theme: 'This is the time of fulfillment.
The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the Good News.' The message of Jesus is certainly worth a closer examination.
'The time of fulfillment''
We often think of time in terms of calendars and watches. Time is mathematical and easily quantified: 60 seconds equals one minute, 60 minutes equal one hour, and so on. This notion of time is referred to as chronos by the Greeks.
Chronos time is uneventful and lacking in personal meaning. On the other hand, there is what the Greeks called karios time. This is the time that is beyond measurement because it is so deep with meaning. Karios time is the in-breaking of the sacred into the profane and ordinary things of this world.
Jesus is speaking of karios time. God is doing a new thing in Jesus. Jesus not only announced the fullness of God's presence, but Jesus is the concrete particularization of God's love. What the prophets of the Old Testament longed to see, God's salvation is here in Jesus.
'The reign of God is at hand'.
Nowhere in Scripture is the reign or kingdom of God defined.
Jesus' audience knew well what it meant God's active rule and presence in human history and in the history and life of Israel was reaching its zenith. The reign of God cannot be limited to a geographical area or equated with military power. The reign of God is the transforming presence of God in the hearts of men and women.
This active presence of God is not for the end of the world or even the end of the week. God's rule is now. We can't delay or postpone God's rule. Burying the dead and looking back are no longer acceptable responses 1'0 God.
In Jesus, the definitive rule of God is now and we must decide.
'Reform your lives. II If we really hear the preaching of Jesus and respond to his message and person, this costs us something.