3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
24th January 2020
Stained glass window in St Gummarus Church in Lier, Belgium
Our gospel extract today falls into two sections. After the notice about
the arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist, we have an example of a
characteristic feature of Mark’s account, that of the summary statement.
Here the evangelist records that Jesus preached in Galilee and gives the main underlying
theme of the content, namely, the approach of God’s Kingdom and the need to repent
and accept the Good News. Apart from that, we are given no details about how Jesus
presented his message.
In the second part, we hear about the call of the first disciples. Jesus is unusual in this,
because normally disciples (or students) would, of their own accord, gather round a rabbi
so that they could learn from his instruction and way of life. Jesus, on the other hand,
takes the initiative and invites people to leave their customary occupations and follow
him, both by becoming his disciples and literally going with him, leaving their families and
possessions behind. Here, those invited respond immediately to his radical call, just as
others will subsequently.
There is a hymn which reflects
on Jesus’ calling of his disciples
which begins “Follow me, follow
me, leave your home and family” and is
often sung with great gusto by Sunday
congregations. Whether we would be
quite so enthusiastic if we thought that
the words actually applied to ourselves is
perhaps another matter. We might regard
the text as a meditation on the call to the
religious life, especially to missionary
work overseas. But even those who
accept such an invitation soon discover
that life is not so simple and that daily
needs have to be met, no matter how
simply they try to live.
There is always a danger that we can
think that certain parts of the teachings
of Jesus are for a particular group of
other people and therefore do not apply
to ourselves. When Mark was writing,
there was no priesthood that we would
recognise today, no religious orders
dedicated to the foreign missions: he
is addressing his account of Jesus’ call
to all his readers. It is true that certain
people have a profound conversion
experience which leads them to a radical
break with their past life: some people
may decide to join the Church against the
wishes of their family or relations. But the
vast majority of us have responsibilities
that we cannot just abandon, nor are we
being asked to.
But we are all disciples of Jesus. “Repent
and believe the Good News” is addressed
to us today. This, for most of us, is not
something that we do once and for all: it
has to be a regular part of our Christian
life. The fundamental vocation which
we all share is to be a disciple of Jesus
and to live as such in whatever way of
life we find ourselves. Perhaps ‘repent’
could mean examining ourselves to see
if anything is coming between ourselves
and Jesus and, if so, doing something
Click on the image to enlarge the text.
Sunday Message 24th January 2021
Lord, teach me your ways:
Lord, show me your paths.
Look round your home and/or workplace: tell
yourself that this is the place where Jesus is
calling you to live as his disciple.
The Sea of Galilee, also known as the Lake of
Gennesareth, is an inland fresh-water body
It is approximately 13 miles long and 8 miles
Disciples normally chose to follow the rabbi
whose teachings and way of life impressed
them: Jesus is unusual in selecting his
Sunday Message is focused on giving a practical application to the Sunday Gospel.
Each week, an original exposition of the Gospel is provided, along with a short reflection encouraging the reader to relate it to their life; learning points, suggestions for action and original prayer material are also included.
The full text of the readings at Mass are provided, along with the antiphons, the Gloria, Creed, Gospel Acclamation and Psalm.