3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea--for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I will try set aside my worries and distractions and focus totally on you. I believe in you. I believe that you are here with me and that you love me. My hope increases in the knowledge that you are leading me to yourself everyday. I know you love me with a perfect and infinite love and I want to correspond with love in everything I do today.
Petition: Lord, enable me to follow you wherever you call me and do the most I can to collaborate with you in working for souls.
1. Jesus begins his ministry. This passage shows us Jesus as he begins his work, traveling through Galilee and proclaiming the good news. His is a call to trust, confidence, hope and repentance. Confidence and joy because the time is fulfilled and Gods promises to his Chosen People will finally come true. Hope because the Kingdom of God is near in the person of Jesus Christ and the work of salvation he will accomplish. The one who proclaims the good news is himself God in the flesh, and now is the time when men will be freed from their sins.
Jesus message does not stop there. Our salvation will not happen without our cooperation, and Jesus tells us to do two specific things: repent, and believe in the good news. We can repent only if we are aware of our sins, and only if we know we have sinned can we realize that we need a savior. So, if we are to welcome into our lives God’s salvation in the person of Jesus, we must first recognize that we have sinned and that we do need a Savior. Then we must believe that Jesus is that savior, and in him the Kingdom of God has come.
Jesus also adds another element: a certain sense of urgency and the need for action. He doesn’t call us to form a discussion group with him, he calls us to change. And he doesn’t call us in the first instance to change the world around us but to change ourselves, which is the greater challenge. The time is ripe for conversion, but this grace can pass us by and might not return. As Jesus passed through one town, there was no guarantee that he would return the following day. Now was the time of salvation and they had to seize it.
2. Jesus calls his first disciples. Next we see Jesus call his first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James and John (The same first four disciples John speaks of in his own góspel). Where does he find these men? At their daily work. We often worry where are we going to find God, how he is going to speak to us and how we are going to hear him, and we tend to think it is going to happen in some extraordinary way; we underestimate or simply count out the value of our daily duty, the extraordinary power of ordinary things to put us in contact with God when we do them because they are precisely what he wants us to do right now.
He chooses to involve these men in his mission. It is striking how he calls those he wills without first asking their permission. Ordinarily the disciple of a Rabbi chose the one he wished to follow and sought him out; Jesus reverses this, he seeks out and calls his disciples; he just bursts into their lives, calls them and tells them what he will make them: fishers of men. He sets the agenda. The men he called had a choice either to accept or reject what he was offering them. Lucky for us, they accepted.
3. The disciples respond at once. Obviously, this was not the first time they saw or heard Jesus, but whatever perception they had of him and whatever link they felt with his teaching changed when Jesus called them. From this moment on, they were not to be simple spectators or passive beneficiaries of Jesus preaching and miracles, they were going to become part of his plan, ”fishers of men” with him.
When Jesus called them, they did not yet know all it would entail; they did not know Jesus would die on a cross within three years, or that three of these four friends would suffer martyrdom for him at some time in the future. They did all they could do at that momento—leave their nets and the family business, leave their families and set out after him. Everything else was in his hands. Maybe when they thought about it years later, they wondered at their own audacity. It IS possible today to follow Christ with such single-mindedness for God always gives us the grace we need to respond to his will, although it may not be easy. At that moment they do not count the cost, they only do what Jesus asks of us all—to simply start out. God’s grace gives them the interior freedom to respond to his call and embark on the adventure of following Jesus.
Conversation: Jesus, I want to follow you, help me to keep my feet on the ground and to be faithful to what you ask of me now, fulfilling my duties with love, so as to be always where you expect to find me when you want to give me any special grace or light. I know you want me to help you in some way to cooperate in saving souls and making your Kingdom come. Keep me attentive always to your grace and to your voice. Let me never be so engrossed in my own plans as not to hear you when you call. Give me the courage and the confidence I need to do your work and continue you mission among men.
1. What strikes me most about how Jesus begins his public life?
2. Am I working on taking the log out of my own eye, am I making a sincere effort to accept the Kingdom into my own life, before attempting to spread it to others?
2. Am I fulfilling well all the duties of my present state in life, knowing that this is the normal way God will speak to me and show me the next step he wants me to take?