Monday, January 10, 2011

A proper response

Today we begin Ordinary Time still dealing with extraordinary events. Who among us is not still trying to make sense of the events of the weekend?

It is truly providential that the gospel for today is Mark's recounting of the beginning of Jesus's preaching. Mark links the preaching of Jesus to the arrest of John, "After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God."

We can forget the familial relationship of Jesus and John. We can forget how frightening it would have been for the entire family to have a loved one arrested in that world. We need to remember these things to understand the extraordinary response of Jesus.

He did not come out preaching hell-fire and brimstone. The arrest of John meant for Jesus it was time to proclaim the Good News, it was a time of fulfillment. He called for two things: metanoia and pistis.

While metamorphosis is the physically changing of a being, metanoia is a changing of the mind, a change of heart. Jesus would call for people to reexamine their most fundamental beliefs.

The second response Jesus calls for "pistis" is usually translated as faith. The word comes from the root verb to persuade, to be persuaded, to trust. It reflects a personal relationship with the speaker, a willingness to trust what Jesus is saying even when it doesn't fit with the listeners preconceived notions.

We see how Jesus responded to the arrest of John, perhaps he shows us how we should respond.