When the Baptist got arrested, Jesus came to Galilee and started to «proclaim the Good News of God». According to Mark, he doesn’t actually teach a doctrine that his disciples need to learn and spread correctly. Jesus announces an event that is already happening. He’s already living it and he wants to share his experience with everyone.
Mark summarizes his message this way: «The time is fulfilled» –don’t look backwards anymore. «The kingdom of God is close at hand» –since God wants to build a more human world. «Repent» –you can’t go on as if nothing was happening; change your way of thinking and acting. «Believe the gospel». This project of God’s is the best news that one could ever hear.
After this solemn summary, the first thing Jesus does is seek co-workers to advance his project. Jesus goes «walking along by the Lake of Galilee». He’s begun his journey. He is a wandering prophet who seeks followers in order to make a passion-filled trip with them: going about opening paths to God’s reign. He isn’t a rabbi sitting around on his teaching chair, who looks for students in order to form a religious school. To be Christian isn’t to learn doctrines, but to follow Jesus in his project of life.
The one who takes the initiative is always Jesus. He draws near, fixes his gaze on those four fishermen and calls them to give their lives a new direction. Without his intervention, a true Christian is never born. We believers have to live more faithfully the living presence of Christ and perceive his gaze over each one of us. If it isn’t Jesus, then who can give our lives a new direction?
But what’s most decisive is to hear his call within: «Come after me». This isn’t a task for one day. To hear this call means to awaken a trust in Jesus, revive our personal attachment to him, have faith in his project, indentify ourselves with his program, reproduce his attitudes within ourselves… and this way gain more people for his project.
This could be a good motto for a Christian community today: Go after Jesus. Put him in front of every person. Remember him each Sunday as the leader who’s going on in front of us. Generate a new dynamic. Center everything in more closely following Jesus Christ. Our Christian communities would be transformed. The Church would be different.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf