Gospel of Mark, Job & 1Corinthians

How many times has someone said to you, “I have some Good News and some Bad News, which do you want to hear first?” I don’t know what your inclination is but mine is to have them tell me the good news first.
In 3 of our 4 readings today we hear the positive message of Jesus, Paul and the Psalms is. Both Jesus and Paul were preaching the Good News and calling their audience, and each of us to follow their example. Before we look at how we can follow their example we need to know the definition of the Good News. The Kingdom of God is essentially the same as the Good News. The Kingdom of God is where God’s will is done, that is the Good News is lived.
Many people feel that the Kingdom of God exists only in the afterlife, in other words after we have died, but John the Baptist said that the Kingdom of God is at hand and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke tells us that the Kingdom of God is already here. So it can be concluded that not only does the Kingdom of God exist in the afterlife but it existed at the time of Jesus and by definition it always existed. You might say it is everlasting, starting at the beginning of time and continues without end.
So then what is the Good News? It is the teachings of Jesus which are primarily taken from the Old Testament and include the Two Great Commandments which come from the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and the Beatitudes which Jesus gave us at the Sermon on the Mount which come from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the Psalms among other books of the Old Testament. That is the Good News and it is by living the Good News, that we experience the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is where God’s Will is done.
How do we live the Good News? It is by imitating Jesus. Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus went from town to town preaching the Good News, starting each day with personal private prayer and following it with teaching, serving, giving, and sharing. Essentially tending to the needs of other people including Peter’s mother-in-law.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he tells us how he went about preaching the Good News adjusting his approach in a way that would most likely be received by his audience. When preaching to the Jews he lived the Good News as a good Jew. When preaching to the Gentiles he was willing to forget about living the 613 minor Laws the Jews were required to live by but never forgetting the Laws of God and always preaching the truths which Jesus gave him and us. Essentially doing what was necessary to get his message across. He knew that if they and we live by accepting our subordination to God’s rules and following the example of Jesus, we will experience peace and Joy.
As Christians, you and I are called to follow Jesus’ and Paul’s example by setting some time aside for prayer, living the Good News and working to spread the Good News to everyone by our words and actions while all the while being determined to listen for God’s guidance, not assuming that we know what God wants but rather knowing and trusting that God knows our needs and will provide.
In today’s 1st reading, that from the Book of Job, Job is not willing to listen to God’s guidance and was in a state of despair. It appears he isn’t even willing to ask for God’s guidance, much listen to it. Finally after 15 chapters he is willing to surrender to God All-Powerful, listening to the Good News, God’s teachings, taking them to heart and finding peace and prosperity.” Talk about a slow learner! It took him 15 chapters of his life, experiencing a life which you might say was like a pile of manure and not be willing to ask for God’s guidance to help him identify the “pony” responsible for that manure.
Here is a powerful prayer for those of us willing to follow Jesus and Paul and don’t want to experience the despair of Job. It goes:
“Here I am Lord willing to spread the Good News. Please show me what you want me to do today.”

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