RCL Year B Epiphany 3
Jonah 3:1-5 and 10; Psalm 62:6-14; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Saint Mark 1:14-20

The Gospel today gives none of us any wiggle-room. Wiggle-room is that zone of comfort that allows us to hear the Gospel, to receive Holy Communion, and to go about our lives as if nothing had happened. But today, there’s no zone of comfort, no wiggle-room, none at all.

First, Jesus issues a call to repentance, which we hear in these words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”[1] No comfort zone there. We all need to repent. We’re all involved. None is exempt.

The message applies to each of us. And, I’ll tell you why. Repentance involves more than we may think. Repentance is more than giving something or someone up. It’s more than putting aside the cigarettes or desserts you shouldn’t take. It’s more than quitting seeing someone you shouldn’t see in circumstances you can’t talk about. It’s more than stopping what should never have started. The Greek word for repent means to change one’s mind and approach drastically, to turn around 180 degrees, to reorient one’s whole attitude toward God in the face of his coming kingdom. It includes the demand to be faithful. It includes giving sacrificially or tithing to the church. It includes doing all we do in the Name of the Lord Jesus. We all need to repent. We can start with stopping what we should never have started. But, alone, that will be incomplete. It will be incomplete unless our minds and hearts and actions become God’s. Very little comfort zone there. In the face of that call, we are either holding out in our refusal or joining up in our acceptance.

Certainly, join up in your acceptance. That decision leads to health and salvation. That call is what we all need. That call is intended for us all. Who could refuse?

[1] Saint Mark 1:15.