The Gospel contrasts silence and proclamation: John the Baptist’s voice has been shushed in prison, but Jesus shakes Capernaum’s streets and seashore with a phrase reminiscing our Ash Wednesday: the Kingdom of God is here. Repent and believe in the Gospel.
Jesus will never theorize the Kingdom; he makes it palpable and blossoming from his hands: he liberates, heals, forgives, removes barriers, and restores the fullness of God’s relationship to all, starting with the last in line. The Kingdom of God comes as healing of pains, as a flowering of life in all its forms.
Jesus’ second word asks us to take a stand: convert, turning toward the Kingdom. “Conversion” needs movement, as in the motion of the sunflower that raises its corolla again every morning and sets it on the path of the sun. So, “convert” means “turn toward the light because the light is already here.”
In Mark’s narrative, Jesus’s invitation to conversion has a definite direction: “Come after me.” Journeying behind him will prepare us to fish souls drowning in darkness, sadness, or paralyzed by fears and addictions.
A group of fishermen, entirely comfortable with their business, suddenly, like lightning stunners, perceive life in the words of the young Rabbi; now they hunger for more, more God, more peace, more life to lend their hands to the Lord.
Jesus wants to reveal a family to all humanity and speaks of God in the language of home (abba), calling all “brothers and sisters in Christ.”