Mass Reading & Meditation for January 7, 2013
Meditation: Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
These words should sound familiar to you. That’s because Jesus was not the first one to say them. John the Baptist spoke these same words, making it clear that repentance was necessary before anyone could fully experience the kingdom of God. They had to prepare themselves to receive the salvation that was promised them through the coming Messiah. You might say that John put the exclamation point on the first word of the gospel message—repent!
Jesus, however, took up where John left off. He showed people what the kingdom looked like—not only through his words but in everything he did. And the people of Galilee happened to be the first to see this kingdom demonstrated in action—through healings, deliverance, and the love of the Father radiating from his Son. When people encountered Jesus, they met not just the Son of God but God the Father as well. They saw his love, and that love changed their lives.
What about you? Can you say that your life testifies to God’s love? To the power of his kingdom? Or do you disqualify yourself, thinking that you’re just an ordinary person?
Don’t ever think that way! You are not ordinary. You are a child of the Father. He has given you the gift of his own Spirit. You are a vessel of his holiness. Your words and the witness of your life can change people’s hearts.
There are a million different ways to witness to the kingdom of God, but one element is a constant in all of them: trust. Nothing testifies to the kingdom more than a heart that is at rest in God, a heart that faces the challenges and trials and even tragedies of life by looking to the Lord for his help and guidance. Nothing speaks more powerfully than a person who takes his or her sadness, anger, grief, and frustration to the Lord and finds the grace to rise above it and know peace.
Today in prayer, let Jesus tell you that the kingdom of God is within you. Let him fill you with confidence so that you can shine the light of that kingdom to everyone you meet.
“Lord, I want to be your herald today. Give me your peace so that I can proclaim your kingdom.”
1 John 3:22–4:6; Psalm 2:7-8, 10-12