Reflections for the Week
The Human Heart
Jesus, the Rabbi from Nazareth—unlike other teachers of the Law who roam and preach in busy street corners with the hope that some listeners would follow them—calls disciples with a note of urgency. It is because
Jesus brings “good news”: God has entered into human history; he sanctifies it with Jesus’ presence and invites humanity to participate in this task of sanctification by accepting his reign. And this entails repentance and an immediate yes to follow him.
Mark describes Jesus' coming as the “time of fulfillment.” He has in mind the prophecies of old which spoke of a time when God would definitely intervene in human affairs and straighten them by changing the human heart. This is fulfilled in Jesus. But this appointed time is also a time for people to decide totally for God. There is no neutrality, neither can one postpone one’s answer. Thus there is a note of urgency in his invitation. The saints are people who responded decisively for the kingdom of God. Once they heard the voice, they immediately answered with a yes, much like the fishermen in the Gospel.
God’s Word Fr George C Mathew SSP
It is worth noting that this call narrative is preceded by Jesus’ announcement that the time is ripe and the Kingdom of God is near, and by his invitation to repent and believe the good news. This call is given to everyone, not just to a select few. We all have to prepare our hearts for the coming of God’s reign. A new and extraordinary situation calls for a new mind and heart. It cannot be otherwise.
Still, within this general call to repentance and faith is a particular call to a group who will become close collaborators of the Lord in his inauguration of this Kingdom. And it is they whom Jesus will transform into their new roles as fishers of men and women. We are not told of Jesus’ criteria for choosing them; only Jesus knows their hearts. But we are grateful for their readiness in leaving everything, even their own families and loved ones and their livelihood, to follow Jesus.
365 Days with the Lord Fr Gil Alinsangan SSP
Jesus calls four of the men who will be his constant companions as he goes about preaching the Kingdom of God in Israel. But Jesus does not make the same demand of everyone. Many of his disciples, among them Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, Zacchaeus, and people whom he cures of their infirmities remain in their villages.
In the same way, many Christians today are called to serve full-time in the work of evangelisation, but the majority give witness to their faith as they go about their day-to-day activities at work or at home.
One way of participating in the task of evangelisation is not necessarily better than the other. Neither is it an indication that one will be a better disciple than another person who chooses a different path.
Judas follows Jesus as one of the Twelve Apostles closest to the Lord and yet ends up betraying him. In all probability, Mary remains in Nazareth, yet she is blessed not only as the mother of Jesus but also as his “faithful disciple” because of her unwavering response to God’s word.
Ultimately, what is important is not what Jesus asks us to do but how we respond to his call. Our response should be marked by urgency and a breaking off from our present concerns.
In the First Reading, the prophet Jonah is sent to warn Nineveh of God’s impending judgement. The Ninevites believe. They proclaim a fast and turn from their wicked ways. In the Gospel, the four fishermen abandon their nets as soon as they hear Jesus’ call.
What could have prompted the first disciples to follow Jesus? While nothing is explicitly mentioned in the Gospels, we may assume that they were attracted by Jesus’ authority. The Apostle chosen “out of time”: Saul of Tarsus (cf Acts 9:4, 11, 15-16), speaks of being possessed by Christ. Something of that power, easily perceived in the resurrected Christ who appears to the person we will come to know as Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles (cf Acts 9:15; 13:9), is evident even during his public ministry.
Christ has already won salvation for us. We are called to receive and proclaim this salvation. We cannot but say yes to his call right now.
365 Days with the Lord Fr Renato Repole SJ
The arrest of John the Baptist is a strategic and political move because it can upset and unsettle Jesus. But Jesus, instead of considering the arrest as an obstacle, transforms it as the best opportunity to launch his mission. Transforming difficulties into opportunities was one of the characteristics that marked Jesus’ life and mission.
Now, in order to continue his mission, Jesus calls to himself certain persons. Today let us concentrate on the response of those who were called.
First of all, they somehow recognised the greatness of Jesus and felt a liberating and transforming force in his call. Secondly, they were willing to give up their present securities: family, wealth and their familiar surroundings. And finally, their response to Jesus’ invitation was immediate.
How do we respond to Jesus’ invitation in our daily lives?
God’s Word Fr Devasio Joseph SSP
Fr Bill's Thoughts