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(Part 27)


January 22, 2012

Today’s readings:
Jonah 3:1-10
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

We are living in the end times. The reality is that “the world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor 7:31b). As such, our work of evangelization is even more crucial. We need to try to bring in as many souls as we can, before all mankind faces final judgment before God.

We are simply carrying out the great commission given by Jesus to all his disciples. “Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God” (Mk 1:14b). Now we are called upon to proclaim that same gospel. Just like the first apostles, we are called to be “fishers of men” (Mk 1:17). We step into Jesus’ sandals and continue the work of bringing his salvation to all. Jesus’ proclamation is even more relevant and urgent today. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:15).

What should be our posture to this wonderful calling and great privilege? We should give our all. We should not let our secular livelihood get in the way (Mk 1:18). We should not let our family relationships get in the way (Mk 1:20b). We should not go about the ordinary activities of life like those who are totally immersed in them and unaware of their transitoriness (1 Cor 7:29b-31a). We should know what the Lord’s priorities are, and give our all in order to pursue those.

Further, since we are doing God’s work, then we should obey what He tells us to do, even if such seems challenging, intimidating, or even impossible. Jonah was told to “set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” (Jon 3:2). “Now Nineveh was an enormously large city” (Jon 3:3b) and very sinful. It was the classic mission impossible. Yet “Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding.” (Jon 3:3a). We should not judge circumstances according to our limited human minds, but simply obey what God tells us to do. He knows better.

In addition, we must know that nothing is impossible with God, that He desires the salvation of all, that it is He who provides the grace and empowerment by which we are to do our task. We must do our work with eagerness and anticipation. We must never limit what God can do, based on what we believe we can do. So it was with Jonah. He had gone but a single day’s walk when the people believed God and repented (Jon 3:4-5). Not only that, the king also repented and decreed repentance throughout the kingdom (Jon 3:6-8). We should look to God surprising us. God will manifest His awesome power if we simply obey.

The world is hurtling towards Judgment Day. Many will perish, a just consequence of their sinfulness. But hopefully many also will be saved by their repentance and turning to faith in Jesus. “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” (Jon 3:10). We have that privilege to be instruments of their salvation.

Let us commit ourselves to the call to rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization. Such is the urgent need of the times. There is no time to lose or to waste. Let us act now. “I tell you, brothers, the time is running out.” (1 Cor 7:29a).

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