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We don’t need to go too far in the news these days to find any bad news.  Whether it is world affairs where there is the constant threat of war, or, nearer home, threats of domestic violence nearer at home or even news of addictions within our own community.  We know only too well what Bad News looks like.  So I was struck this week by the good news of Pope Francis conducting a wedding ceremony onboard a flight from Chile to Peru during his pastoral visits to Latin America.  It must certainly have been Good News for the couple themselves but also for their families when they got home.  That surely counts as a Surprise Wedding!  What struck me was that the Pope was immediately BREAKING INTO that couple’s lives with Good News.  It caused headlines – perhaps even headaches for some of his officials – but caused great joy and an outpouring of love all over the world.  In the midst of some terrible bad news, here was the Pope breaking in with good news of love and hope

 

 

 

It was with that sense of “breaking in”, that Jesus appears today in the first verses of Mark’s Gospel with the words “The time has come … believe the Good News.”

 

 

 

In these first verses of his first chapter, Mark seems to summarize his entire Gospel with three clear points.  Firstly he states that Jesus came on earth to bring GOOD NEWS and to bring God’s life into a confused world which had lost its way; that’s surely what he means when he says “the Kingdom of God is close at hand.”  Then Mark shows Jesus telling people that, to allow God’s values to take effect in their lives, they must change; this is why Jesus says “Repent!”  Finally, Jesus says that all of this will be possible only to the person who has faith, who accepts “in their heart” that God’s values have a purpose for the world; this is why Jesus invites the people to “believe!”  So the message from Mark and from Jesus is clear: God is here; God wants people to change; God wants people to give him their heart.

 

 

 

My question to you today is: “Do you really want change in your life?  Do you want change in the world?”  Well, the Good News is for YOU.  Good News for your family, Good News for your work, Good news for the world.  This Good News wasn’t simply something that happened two thousand years ago and will never happen again.  Jesus came on earth to say the Good News is for today, tomorrow and every day when you are lost without meaning and without purpose.  Do you need a new perspective on life for your family?  Do you need a fresh input of hope and respect?  Then the Good News IS FOR YOU this weekend.

 

 

 

And as if to show that change is possible, we have the example of Jesus calling four disciples – Andrew and Peter, James and John – and changing their lives.  Jesus shows that lives can be truly transformed by the Good News.  Each of these disciples, we are told, were summoned from ordinary jobs and ordinary lives.  Yet with God’s Good News in their hearts, they were able to transform the world.  And there are many examples down through the years of saints and many good people taking the Good News into their hearts, turning their backs on sinful ways and embracing the Good News of love.

 

 

 

You might not have Pope Francis at your door waiting to break into your life with the Good News but I suggest that there are other Guardian Angels – among your family, your friends and even your work colleagues – who are waiting to touch your heart with the message “God’s love and Kingdom are near at hand; change and embrace the Good News!”

 

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