“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Jesus fully reveals God’s plan for us.
From the beginning of the Bible to the arrival of Jesus, God had only slowly revealed himself and his ways to his chosen people, by making promises to them, showing his power, and giving them commandments. Each generation was given a bit more knowledge of whom God is and what he intends for us, with the expectation that they must accept God on his terms.
The time of fulfillment meant that no further revelation of God was necessary: Jesus is God’s full self-revelation. All of history before Jesus was aimed at Jesus’ arrival and mission. All of history after him has the responsibility to respond. Thus, the kingdom of God was and is at hand, immediately in front of those gathered around him. Getting to know Jesus is getting to know our king and savior.
Whenever we encounter Jesus, his kingdom is made real for us. We participate in the kingdom when we accept his teaching and live in a way that is consistent with conversion. He reveals himself to us foremost in the Scriptures and in the Sacraments, with enough ambiguity that we need to make acts of faith and believe he is alive. Our devotion to his Eucharistic presence is one such act of faith.
Repent and believe. Jesus’ words encapsulate the changing of one’s mind, authentic conversion. What do we repent from? From life without God, from sin: those thoughts and actions which are opposed to God’s plan (e.g., pride, wrath, envy, sloth, greed, lust, and gluttony). We choose to believe that God really did give us a plan and commandments to follow, that God really demands total adherence to him alone, and that the gospel is God’s good news, that he is reaching out to us, to rescue us from death and restore us to life, to be close to his people.
~ Fr. Aaron Kuhn