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Matthew 4:12-23
Jesus’s initial preaching began in the same way as the ministry of John the Baptist: with a simple proclamation about the need for conversion and change, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (v.17)
God created us with a gift of free will.  This why repentance is so vital.  God will assist us with grace but respects our free will and our ability to choose and decide about whether to sin or not to sin, to turn back to God or to remain in our rebellion.
Once we repent, once we turn back to God, once we take that first step, we open ourselves to the healing mercy of God.
Repentance will always be the key that unlocks the door to the royal road, the highway of holiness and the way of the Spirit.
Lord, thank you for the gift of repentance, the chance to change, turn over a new leaf, and renounce ways of thinking and acting that harm me.

The Good News

Mark 1:14-20
From the beginning of Mark’s Gospel we are introduced to the ideas of repentance, belief and good news.
The gospel, literally “good news”, is that God became man to save and resuce us because we could not save ourselves from sin, death and the power of evil.
The Good News is that God loves us and revealed that love to us by sending Jesus, his only son and the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, to die on the cross and to rise again on the third day.
The Good News is that our sins are forgiven, our lives are wiped clean by the blood of Jesus, and we are reconciled with God the Father, restored as his sons and daughters, blessed with a new dignity, purpose and hope.
The Good News is that we have received the Holy Spirit; we are a new creation.
Lord, teach me to be a witness of your grace and of the joy of heartfelt repentance, and in turn lead others to know deeply and personally your mercy and forgiveness.

Come, Lord Jesus, come

Luke 21:20-28
We need to take Scriptures like today’s reading very seriously.  The same Luke who recorded the beauty of the nativity also gave us today’s apocalyptic vision of the end of the world.
Jesus warns that these events will cause the faith of many to be shaken.  But in warning of these events, his purpose is to assure his disciples that they are part of God’s overarching plan for the world.  When they see these cataclysmic events taking place, they will know that his plan is being fulfilled and that Jesus will soon return.  
Jesus wants us to be assured that God is in control and that his purpose is being fulfilled.
Lord, renew in me a firm faith in your second coming and teach me to pray for it with all my heart, soul and strength.
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