January 24 Reflections

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

St. Mark, in giving us this scene for meditation as the Holy Spirit’s spokesman, hits upon the secret of every good salesperson as well. For it seems to me that such people are actually selling a dream. One they passionately believe in.

My own dear Dad spent the bulk of his working years selling life insurance. In this case, the “dream” is guaranteed security and strong protection against the twin nightmares of uncertainty and fear. But all salespeople offer a product that will not only pre- clude disaster but also bring a strong dose of hope and optimism.

Our Lord Jesus could also be called “the World’s Greatest Salesman.” He has all the good qualities of a person who believes in what they’re selling, so to speak, and none of the dark characteristics often attributed to salespeople. His “product” of course is “the Kingdom of God.” He tells us it is nearer than we think.

In the process He was actually selling Himself as the perfect actualization of that kingdom. He made His hearers un- derstand that this kingdom is such that positivity is the law of the land and undying love is its hallmark. In other words, He was “selling” God back to those who had abandoned Him. How good He was at His work shows in the way even His first listeners were so quickly able to leave behind much of their old life and walk with Him.

Some of the actors who have played Jesus in Hollywood films have managed for me to capture His charm to a satisfy- ing degree. It may be that as a confirmed romantic I fell for their portrayals too easily. But I watched through the lens of a committed believer in Jesus, and one who has his own ideas of how to play Jesus. However, the Bible tells me not just to play the role but live it.

But no matter our nature or temperament, we are all “hard wired” to be attracted by truth and the obvious conviction of an authentic truth teller. We “buy into” their wares with ease. Is it any wonder that Simon and Andrew, James and John dropped their fishing nets to follow the Divine Troubadour? And aren’t you glad that you did too? What we have gained from this magnetism of the Master is the joy of having Someone to believe in. That cannot be taken away from us by anyone, especially the one “evil salesman” who was formerly an archangel.

That’s why it’s best for us to remember:
“You are writing a Gospel, a chapter each day, By deeds that you do, by words that you say. People read what you write, whether faithless or true. Say! What is that gospel, according to YOU?”

God love you and give you His peace!

Reading I: Jonah 3: 1-5, 10
The prophet, as God’s spokesman, brings about a miraculous turnaround by the people of Nineveh. Prior to that, the city was known only for its sinful cruelty and wickedness.

Reading II: I Corinthians 7: 29-31
St. Paul believed in an imminent end of the world, so he recommends detachment from earthly ways. It would be ridiculous to maintain one’s “status quo” in such circumstances.

The Gospel: Mark 1: 14-20
Jesus calls His first disciples. He was so compelling that they were immediate with their responses. Jesus describes their new life’s work as their becoming “fishers of men.”