「你們悔改，信從福音罷！」 (谷1：15) 馬爾谷福音記載，當耶穌開始向世界宣講救恩的訊息時這樣說：「時期已滿，天主的國臨近了。你們悔改，信從福音罷！」 耶穌的來臨開始了一個新時代，這是一個恩寵及救恩的時代。耶穌一開始宣講就邀請我們接受這個偉大的訊息——天國。這是祂令所有人都能接近的事實。 同時，祂立刻指出大家應走的途徑，就是要悔改並信從福音，也就是要徹底地改變生活，並在耶穌內接受天主透過祂向每個時代的人所講的話。 這裡有兩件事是並行不悖的：悔改及信德，而且缺一不可，但兩者都是我們透過生活的聖言，即耶穌的臨在接觸後所產生的效果。這位耶穌今天仍然重複地向群眾 說：
」 當人接受了天主聖言，並把它生活出來時，聖言的效果就是令人完全改變自己的思想（這等於悔改）。聖言把耶穌的情懷傾注在所有人的心中，無論他是歐洲人、澳 洲人、美洲人、非洲人或亞洲人，聖言都能叫人帶著耶穌的心情去應付不同的環境、接待個別的人或面對社會。 但福音怎樣才能在人心裡產生有深度的皈依，引發新的及燦爛的信德呢？其中的秘密就在於耶穌的聖言所蘊藏的奧蹟。它們不僅僅是一些勸諭、建議、提示、指引、 律例或命令。在耶穌的教訓中隱藏著耶穌自己，所以是祂親自向我們講話，祂說的話就是祂自己。 這樣，我們在聖言中與祂相遇。當我們按照祂的意願把祂的話迎接到自己心中時（即是說隨時準備好把聖言在生活中實踐出來），我們就與祂合而為一，而祂也會在 我們心中誕生或成長。因此，面對耶穌這麼迫切，以及極高的要求，我們都能夠而且應該接受祂的邀請。
有 人會認為褔音的教訓太高超及艱難，離大眾的生活及思想方式太遠，有人甚至會充耳不聞或灰心喪志。當然，假如人以為要單憑自己的力量，去改變自己沒有信德 的缺點，一切都會很吃力。但只要人肯努力實踐聖言，那怕只是一句話，也會從中找到一種意想不到的助力；一種獨特的力量；一盞照亮前路的明燈。這是因 為那句聖言被人接受之後，由於它是天主的一種臨在，它使人能獲得自由、潔淨、皈依，並給人帶來安慰、喜樂及智慧。
這 句聖言能在一整天中為我們多次帶來那照亮心靈的光！每當我們發現自己或他人的軟弱；每當我們感到跟隨耶穌實在太困難及荒謬；每當種種困難令我們感到快要失 敗；這句聖言能助我們一臂之力，為我們帶來一股清新的空氣，而且激勵我們重新開始。 只要一個小小而爽快的『悔改』，我們便能擺脫那封閉了的自我，並向上主開放自己，去體驗另一種生活，即真正的生命。 假如你能做到這一點，就不妨把這份體驗跟另一位已經把褔音作為生活方針的朋友分享，這樣，我們會看到一個基督徒團體在自己的周圍再次出現及發展起來。 把上主的聖言生活出來並與他人分享後會帶來一個奇妙的效果：使一個可見的團體興起，這個團體將成為社會的酵母及地上之鹽，在世上每一角落為基督作見證。 盧嘉勒
Repent, and believe in the gospel. (Mk 1:15)
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus begins his proclamation to the world, his message of salvation, with these words: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the gospel.’
The coming of Jesus marks the beginning of a new era, the era of grace and salvation. His first words are an invitation to embrace this great novelty, the actual reality of the kingdom of God which he brings within reach of all people, close to every person.
He immediately shows the way, which is to repent and believe in the gospel. This means changing one’s life radically and accepting the word that God, in and through Jesus, speaks to humanity of all times.
Repentance and faith must go hand in hand. There cannot be one without the other. Rather, both spring from contact with the living word, from the presence of Jesus who, today too, says to the crowds:Repent, and believe in the gospel
When the word of God is accepted and lived, it brings about a complete change of mentality (and that means ‘conversion’). It instils in the hearts of all – Europeans, Asians, Australians, Americans, Africans – Christ’s feelings in relation to circumstances, individuals and society.
But how can the gospel work the miracle of a profound conversion, of a new and light-giving faith? The secret lies in the mystery contained in the words of Jesus. They are not simply exhortations, suggestions, indications, directives, orders, or commands. In his words Jesus himself is present as he speaks, as he speaks to us. His Words are himself; they are Jesus.
And so in the Word, we meet him. By welcoming the Word into our hearts, as he wants it to be welcomed (that is, being ready to translate it into life), we are one with him and he is born or grows in us. This is why each one of us can and must welcome Jesus’ urgent and demanding invitation.
Repent, and believe in the gospel
Some people might consider the words of the gospel to be too high and difficult, too distant from the normal way of living and thinking. They might feel tempted not to listen and to be discouraged. But this happens if they think that they have to move the mountain of their disbelief on their own. Instead it would be enough to try and live just one Word of the gospel to find in it unexpected help, special strength, a light for their path (see Psalm 119:105). Since that Word is a presence of God, communicating with it makes people free; it purifies, converts, brings comfort and joy, and gives wisdom.
Repent, and believe in the gospel
How often this Word of Life can give light to us each day! Every time we come up against our own weakness or that of others, every time following Jesus seems to be impossible or absurd, every time problems threaten to overwhelm us, this Word can give us wings, be like a breath of fresh air, an encouragement to start again.
It would be enough to make a small, quick ‘conversion’ of our route to come out from the confines of our ego and open ourselves to God, and so experience another life, the true one.
And if it is possible for us to share this experience with friends who have also taken the gospel as their code of life, then we will see the Christian community bud or blossom again around us.
For when the Word of God is lived out and shared, it works this miracle too. It gives rise to a visible community, which becomes yeast and salt for society, witnessing to Christ in every corner of the earth.
(4th Week in Ordinary Time – Thursday)
(Feast of the Presentation of the Lord )
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 2:22-40
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” 36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan’u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, 37 and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
—The Gospel of the Lord.
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