TEXT: The Holy Gospel According to Saint Mark 1: 12-15
The real reformation takes place in the heart and the life, which follows Jesus and the Church in the obedience of faith.
"Reformation" is NOT a bad word.
We all need it daily.
It is penance, conversion, and the reformation of a life through cooperation with the grace of God.
As a convert to our most Holy Catholic Church and Faith, I have come to love the Church and my Lord Jesus Christ. I have come to realize that true "reformation" comes through seeking God alone through devotion to the Mother of God. We have heard her great manifesto for he love for God alone in the words she spoke --
[And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.] Luke 1:46-55, RSV
Let our devotion to God be in this same manner, that we might magnify the Lord, and rejoice in God our Savior.
Jesus gives us the supreme Example of how we ought to live for God alone.
Yet, this Example is unique. We cannot save ourselves in our own strength, for we must rely upon the grace of God alone through Faith.
So, Jesus fasted in the desert, the wilderness.
It is there in the desert places God speaks to us. It is there Mary was called (Revelation 12 with the remnant of her seed.) There we fast and we come to know God alone, when we take the time to be alone with God.
So, let us follow Jesus there and see what he does.
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
When we rely with Jesus and Mary upon the provisions of God alone, we find ourselves ministered to like Jesus and Mary in the desert. We may not gain a lot of weight, for many of us could stand to lose some of it. But, we grow spiritually in God our Savior. The desert place is the place where we are tempted and tests by Satan.
The wild beasts surround us and we can feel their hot breath breathing and their eyes staring at us from a distance as they seek to pounce upon us to devour our lives we cherish so much.
But, it is also the place where St. Michael protected Mary and her offspring, the brothers and sisters of Jesus. It is the place where our guardian angels help us most, when we least suspect they are present.
God remains faithful as we rely upon his graces through Mary.
Now, we see that it is not a test that does not cost us.
Grace is costly - it is not cheap!
It was to Elizabeth that Mary had spoken the words of her Magnificat to the mother of John
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,
15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."
There was none greater than John amongst the prophets, but God always brings in the Greatest to stem the tide of Satan's fury. God is Victor in Jesus the Second Person of the Holy Trinity! Jesus brings Good News, the Gospel.
The TIME is fulfilled.
The KINGDOM of GOD is at HAND!
The Right Hand of God proclaims it!
It is JESUS the Author and Perfector of our Faith. He calls all of us, each of us, to REPENT (Change our minds, our hearts) and believe (Trust, have Faith in) the Gospel (Good News)
"And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
Let us seek him as Mary sought him and seek him with all our hearts in true Reformation of life and Trust in God alone.