3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called to them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

Mark’s Gospel has been called a Gospel that is in a hurry. The action of Jesus’ ministry progresses at a harried pace, from one scene quickly to the next. In this pericope we get a sense of the febrile activity of Jesus and His apostles. John, who had been preaching and baptizing in the Jordan, has been arrested. Jesus begins His public ministry, preaching to the people, “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” It feels as if something big is about to happen. God is moving. Grace is being poured out. Jesus Himself is traversing the banks of the Sea of Galilee, calling out to Peter and Andrew, then James and John, to drop everything and follow Him. Surprisingly, they do so!

Certainly, this is not their first encounter with Jesus. In last week’s Gospel they heard John the Baptist proclaim Him to be the Lamb of God. Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus and asked where He was staying and spent the day with Him. Then Andrew introduced his brother Simon to Jesus, and Jesus gave him the name Cephus (= Peter = Rock).

Now, Jesus comes to them, calling on them to give up everything – their work, their livelihood, their family – and follow Him. Follow Him where? Who knows? They certainly had no idea at the time. But, they trusted Him, believed in Him and in the good news He preached, the news that the kingdom of God is at hand. What is this kingdom? Who knows? They certainly had no idea at the time. But, they trusted Him, believed in Him and the good news He preached.

This is what it means to have Christian faith. It means to trust in Jesus. It means that when He calls, you go. Go where? Wherever He calls you. When? Now. Why? To do the work of the kingdom. Who could do such a thing? Those who trust in Jesus. Those who believe His good news.

It sounds like foolishness. Yes. Yes, it does. Servant of God Dorothy Day, who abandoned everything to follow Jesus, said, “We admit to being fools for Christ, and wish that we were more so.” The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor 3:19), and the foolishness of this world is the wisdom of God and His saints.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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