Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
After John had been arrested … (Mark 1:14)
John’s arrest was big news. Bad news. Heartbreaking and lamentable news. Yet though it heralded the end of John the Baptist’s ministry, it wasn’t the end of the story. Herod’s malice could not halt the plans of God. John came preaching the good news of repentance and forgiveness, and when Herod had him imprisoned, Jesus continued John’s preaching. He even added to it. He continued John’s call to repentance, but he also announced, “The Kingdom of God is at hand” and called everyone to “believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
In the face of bad news, which we all face at one time or another, Jesus urges all of us, Believe the good news. Believe it despite the bad or heartbreaking or lamentable news. Choose to focus your thoughts and emotions on the truth of the kingdom of God. Remind yourself of all of the promises and proclamations Jesus has given us:
• “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
• “I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
• “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
• “I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
Believe these words! Write them down, and put them where you will see them every day. Make promises like these the “news” that fills your thoughts and lifts your heart.
God’s plans can never be defeated—not by John’s arrest or Jesus’ death or the devil’s malevolence. Not by rulers or schemes or any sin or misfortune in your life. Believe the good news: you have been born, through baptism, into Jesus’ death and resurrection, into a living hope. God is keeping a careful watch over your life. Because you believe in him, you can hold onto his promises when you are feeling discouraged or frightened. Jesus has won for you a place in his kingdom; he has made the good news a reality for you. Let these truths sink into your heart so that you can know peace in the midst of difficulty or sorrow.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
( from 7/2/2016 Launceston Tasmania Australia )