Today we encounter readings that already have a Lenten feel about them. Nineveh undergoes a forty-day fast, the psalmist reminds us that God alone can show sinners the way, Paul shows us how fleeting the things and events of this world are, and Jesus cries out “Repent!” before he calls his new followers. “Come after me,” Jesus says, but if we are to truly live out the commands and demands of our discipleship through baptism, we must first know our need for conversion, our repentance, our need to believe in the gospel fully. Today’s Gospel opens with the stark reminder of what befell John the Baptist for completely living out his vocation as the herald of Christ and the gospel: he was arrested, imprisoned, and martyred. Though few of us will experience consequences that extreme, we must all be ready to risk some sort of rejection as, heeding the call of Jesus, we live out the kingdom of God at hand, repent of our sins, and believe in the good news of salvation.