Fishers of men Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Mark 1:14-20
14 After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and preached the Good News from God. 15 “The right time has come,” he said, “and the Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!” 16 As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, catching fish with a net. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people.” 18 At once they left their nets and went with him. 19 He went a little farther on and saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat getting their nets ready. 20 As soon as Jesus saw them, he called them; they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went with Jesus.
Other readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
This week Mark tells us about the call of the first disciples. Although similar to last week’s reading, Mark’s shows Jesus calling four men. He also reveals the scope of Jesus’s plans for them: not only his disciples but also his co-workers.
In John’s narrative, Jesus calls the disciples to stay with him, to be his friends and listen to his teachings. In Mark’s, we learn that Jesus plans to train them to do his work of teaching people God’s message for the world.
The four men obey his call and follow Jesus there and then. They leave their work as fishermen and, it seems, their families.
Jesus teaches these first disciples as they share their lives with him, as the rest of the Gospels show us. Jesus teaches them about his relationship with the Father and his great love for people individually.
They had a great deal to learn from him about this new way of living with God, what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God”. Three years later Jesus left them, trusting all his preparations would be a sufficient foundation for them to become “apostles”, “people who were sent” on a mission.
What is the “Good News” Jesus speaks about? What does it mean for you? Try and sum it up in a few words. What does it mean to follow Jesus and be his disciple today? Can you be a “fisher of men”? You don’t have to be a priest. You just have to introduce your friends to Jesus, as we heard last week.
Pray today’s responsorial Psalm, “Lord, make me know your ways” (Psalm 25:4). Ask God to show you how he wants you to be his disciple.
Ask him whether there is anything you need to “leave behind” in your busy life so that you can serve him more fully.
This week we are also invited to read the story of Jonah. This is the prophet’s second calling (Jonah 3) because the first time round he refused to obey God (Jonah 1-2). But God gives him another opportunity and the people listen to what he says. They repent, turn to God and change their way of living.
In the second reading Paul breathes urgency into his First Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor 7:29-31). The time is short, he reminds them: let go of everything that holds you back from carrying out God’s plan. This sheds light on today’s Gospel reading where we see four people being called by Jesus for a special mission.
Like the first disciples, we need to be single-minded as we follow Jesus. We need to be careful that other things in our lives do not hold us back from doing what God asks us to do.
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word
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