Mark’s was the first of the Gospels to be written. These words are the first recorded words of Jesus in this Gospel. They are remarkable in that they link repentance with believing the Good News. It is like saying: You have to change the way you think and act if you are to be able to hear and believe the Good News.
Repentance or conversion is something to which we are all constantly called. Without it we run the risk of slipping back into routine and comfort. Lent comes and reminds us to take an honest look at ourselves and the stand we take to the message of Jesus. Whatever penance, acts of denial, extra prayer or good works we do, we do them not to win God’s love but to prod ourselves into deeper awareness of God’s kingdom among us and our responsibility to give witness to it.