Do You Reflect The Good News?


First Sunday Of Lent

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: February 18, 2024

When people experience your Catholic faith, in your words, in your actions, in your life, do they experience it as good news?  When people experience our Catholic Church, including our local parish, do they experience good news?  In the Gospel of Mark, it says that Jesus came proclaiming the good news of God.

What was this good news?  In Jesus, God was speaking a word of love to humanity.  God was saying, I love you, I forgive you.  God was saying that the will of God is for our salvation, not our condemnation.  In Jesus, many people for the first time were able to believe that they could be accepted by God, embraced by God.

Especially the poor, the tax collectors, women, the lepers, and so many others who had been convinced that they were not worthy, that they were not welcome with God.  Now, in Jesus they were hearing the incredible good news that, yes, God did want to receive them and they too could be welcomed in the Kingdom of God.

Imagine always being told that you were impure, not worthy, not loved by God.  Then you discover for the first time that it is possible for you to be received and embraced and loved by God.

One key word to understand the good news is the word Covenant.  In our first reading today, from the Book of Genesis, we see the Covenant established after the Great Flood between God and Noah and all living creatures.  Marked by the sign of a rainbow in the sky.  Later on we will see other Covenants formed by God with Abraham and with Moses on Mount Sinai.  Finally, in Jesus, God comes to reveal the eternal Covenant binding God to us for eternity in unconditional love and mercy.

We express this Covenant every time we celebrate the Eucharist.  We hear the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, “this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant.”  We use this word Covenant to describe what Christian Marriage is meant to be.  The best definition of Covenant I have heard is simple, “Covenant is the promise to remain.”  This is the good news, God’s promise to remain with us in life and in death with an unconditional love for eternity.

First preaching of Jesus is “repent and believe in the good news.”  People struggle to believe in the good news of the eternal love of God.  Struggle to believe in the covenant of God promising to remain and who desires our salvation and not condemnation.  Many of us find it difficult to believe this good news.  We feel we are not worthy, that we not good enough.  But, Jesus proclaimed good news, revealed the great covenant, the promise to remain by a God who longs for us and loves us.

Our challenge as Catholics, as disciples of Jesus, is to live and speak and be with others in a way that will help them to believe in the good news of God’s Covenant in Jesus.  That God embraces them.  Do people experience this good news in their encounter with the Church, in their encounter with you?

I saw this quote by a minister recently. He said, “Our Christianity should sound like this: ‘the world is full of neighbours to be understood and loved,’ not ‘the world is full of enemies to be feared and conquered.’”  How we live our faith, the way we speak about our faith, the way we treat others, does it reflect  good news?

Reflect good news in your Catholic faith.  Speak to people, speak about people, be with people, in  a way that reflects this undying love of God who promises to remain with us.

Believe the good news brought by Jesus, that God is in love with you.  Then help others to believe that God is in love with them.


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