Lenten Retreat

Repent and believe in the Gospel (Mk 1:15).

Repent - Two meanings

  1. Return
  2. Come to your senses


“A man travels all over the world in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”

Treasure at home Just a story.

“Ur of the Chaldeans”

The story of Israel's great ancestor - Abraham - begins with "exodus" from Ur of the Chaldeans.

What kind of place was it?

In Gen 10:6–12, the Bible describes for us the four sons of Ham, the youngest son of Noah who did something indecent to his father (see Gen 9:18–25).

Among them is Cush - the first, and Canaan - the last.

Cush had a son named Nimrod (Gen 10:8). He who was “a mighty hunter” and established two powerful kingdoms of Asyria and Babel (Babylon).

Both of those kingdoms destroyed Israel - the first in 722/1 BC and the second in 586 BC.

What kind of place was it?

The story of Nimrod is followed by the story of building a godless project - the city of Babel/Babylon with its tower aiming for heaven (Gen 11:1-9).

So, it is from such a place that Abraham and his family moved aiming for Canaan (Gen 11:31).

What did Abraham and his family do there?

They worshiped and served other gods (Joshua 24:2).

Why did they move?

God called them/him (see Joshua 24:3; Gen 12:1)


In the midst of godless society and worshiping of other gods, the true God revealed himself to Abraham and told him to leave that place.

Where did they go?

To the land of Canaan, which becomes the land of the patriarchs and the promised land.

But why there?

Apparently the inhabitants of that land were not worthy to live there.

They polluted that land with their sins (see Gen 19:1–29; 15:16).

So, the story of Abraham begins the story of the people of Israele. And it is the main story of the Bible.

But where does this story ends?

The ending of the story

In Babylon!

The last book in the Jewish cannon of the Bible is not the book of the prophet Malachi, but the 2 book of Chronicles.

And how does this book ends?

The nation is sent to the exile back into Babylon.

Why? Because of their sins. They would have to spend there seventy years (2 Chron 36:21). Then, they will be able to return to Jerusalem, to the promised land, to God (2 Chron 36:22–23).

The story ends where it began!

Longing to return Home

Jacob and his entire family ends in Egypt, but Jacob wants to be buried in the Promised Land (Gen 49:29–33) and he was buried there (Gen 50:1–14).

Joseph also died in Egypt and he also wants to be buried in the Promised Land (Gen 50:24–26). And he was finally buried there (see Ex 13:19 and Joshua 24:32).

Joseph as a young boy left for Shechem in Gen 37:14 and finally reached Shechem in peace after his death (Joshua 24:32).

Return Home

The Jewish cannon of the Bible ends with an offer of return (2 Chron 36:23).

But will they return?

What if some of them got used to living in a godless society?

Questions and challenge?

Model of return

Luke 15:17–20.

Why did he decide to return home?

He came to his sense!

Come to your sense

Do we have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear?


See Mark 8:18


Come to your senses or change the way you think.

Prediction of Passion and reaction

  1. The first time Jesus’ predicts his passion, Mk 8:31–32a, Peter rebukes his Lord and Master for even entertaining such ideas (Mk Mk 8:32b).
  2. The second time Jesus’ predicts his passion (Mk 9:31), the disciples talk among themselves who is the greatest among them (Mk 9:32–34).
  3. Finally, the last time Jesus’ predicts his passion (Mk 10:33–34), two of his disciples - James and John - want to get the first places in Jesus’ kingdom (Mk 10:35-37).

We think differently

The way Jesus think and the way we think is entirely different.

Where we see a tragedy, Jesus sees the triumph;

where we see death only, Jesus sees victory of life.

What does it indicate?

Jesus’ disciples are blind;

we are blind although we think that we see.

The blind who sees

When the blind Bartimaeus was healed, the Gospel tells us that he immediately followed Jesus “on the way (Mk 10:52). What kind of way?

Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem to offer his life and to get his life back; to die for us and to rise from the dead.

We are called to follow him on this way (Mk 8:34–35).

The blind Bartimaeus becomes an example of a true disciple. After being able to see - coming to his senses - he goes with Jesus to Jerusalem - to die to himself/ to sin and live for God.

A woman to remember

There is one more example of a true disciple - an unknown woman (Mk 14:3–9).

On easter morning, “Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him” (Mk 16:1).

The point is that if they truly believed in Jesus’ words predicting his resurrection, they should not be there.

Why anoint Jesus beforehand?

That unknown woman from Mk 14:3–9 believed and so she did something extraordinary: “she has anointed my body beforehand for burial” (Mk 14:8).

Somehow, she knew that there would not be any chance, no time to anoint Jesus after his burial, and so she did it “beforehand”.

Mary Magdalene and the other women could not find anymore the body of Jesus, they could not perform what that unknown woman did. And so, her story is remembered in the Gospel (read Mk 14:9).


A story

His grandson was playing hide and seek with another child. He hid himself for some time, but his playmate did not look for him. The little boy ran to his grandfather and said amid tears: "He did not look for me!"
The grandfather said: "This is also God's complaint, that we seek Him not.

The meaning of “believe”

What does it mean "to believe" in the Bible?

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever (Ps 125:1)

The meaning of "believe"

Faith embraces mind and heart!

The one who believes in God of the Bible

(1) accepts His word (Is 7:9b LXX) and
(2) attaches himself/herself to Him with the entire heart (Deut 6:5).

The meaning of "believe"

There is the meaning of security in the word "trust"

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore (Ps 125:2).
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The meaning of "believe"

What does it mean “to believe in the Gospel”?

It means to trust (in) Jesus.

“Jesus, I trust (in) You”.

This short prayer recorded for us in the diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska is the summary of the entire Bible.

The meaning of "believe"

We trust Jesus - everything He revealed about God, himself, the meaning of life, and life's final desitation

We trust in Jesus - who is the Redemeer of the world (Jn 4:42).

Conclusion - Questions and challenge

Will you trust Jesus?

Will you let Jesus open your senses?

Will you follow Jesus to “Jerusalem” - wherever this place may be in your life?

Will you follow Jesus via cross to Easter?