Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12; (Psalm) 1 Chronicles 29:10-12;Mark 6:7-13
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out. (Mark 6:7)
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Later, in keeping with his opening message, he sent his apostles out to preach the same message of repentance to make way for the kingdom.
But the apostles didn’t preach in the mode of a street-corner evangelist threatening hellfire. Rather, they delivered the same good news that Jesus had preached: God loves you. He wants to heal you and give you peace. He is near, holding out freedom to all who turn to him.
This is the heart of repentance. God’s love brims over with a desire to liberate us from our “demons,” restore our spirits, and renew our minds. He has no interest in piling on guilt or fear or shame—not even to force us to repent. Rather, he wants to tell us that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can live in freedom.
So many voices tell us that we have no right to live in freedom as children of God. They tell us that our sins and failings have disqualified us. They tell us that God doesn’t love us enough or that he does little more than tolerate us. At the very least, we should stay meek and timid and expect only the smallest crumbs of his attention. Those voices lie! Jesus went so far as to die so that we could be set free. He gave his life so that we could enter his kingdom.
So approach the throne of grace boldly. Open your heart, and accept everything Jesus has won for you. If it seems hard or vague or perplexing, try this. Sit quietly, and tell God one thing that keeps you from him: one habitual sin, one weakness, or one fear that you think bars your access to him. Offer to trade that one thing for a taste of his love. Then wait for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Perhaps he will tell you he loves you. Perhaps he will show you that God is not ashamed of you. Maybe he will offer you his truth in place of a lie. Whatever happens, know that the Father is with you, ready to forgive and heal and free.
“Father, I want to live in freedom, so I come to you today repenting and seeking more of your love.”~wau