Fr Vincent's reflections on the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

Once more we reflect on the call of Jesus to leave everything behind and follow him.  While we might not totally change our lives, what might be preventing us from giving ourselves completely to Jesus?  He does ask us to repent and be faithful to the Gospel.

 

Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

 

Read the text:

 

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time                    (Jan. 24, 2021)

 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.       R/.  Amen.

 

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.              R/.  And with your spirit.

 

On this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us pray:

 

             Almighty ever-living God,

             direct our actions according to your good pleasure,

             that in the name of your beloved Son

             we may abound in good works.

             Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

             who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

             one God, for ever and ever.                                                     R/.  Amen.

 

Hopefully you have your Bible with you to follow along.  If not, please pause the video to retrieve your Bible. 

The Gospel today is Mark 1:14-20.

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark.

      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 them.

      So they left their father Zebedee in the boat

             along with the hired men and followed him.

The Gospel of the Lord.                                                                         R/.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

On this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Gospel of Mark gives us the call of Simon and Andrew, James and John.  You might recall that last weekend we read from St. John’s Gospel and heard about Andrew and Simon encountering Jesus for the first time right after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.  That initial meeting must have planted the seed which enabled Simon and Andrew, this time, to “abandon” their nets, meaning their “way of life,” and commit to Jesus.  They must have shared the seed with James and John for them to do the same thing.  Obviously these brothers were younger because they still worked for their father.

So, as always, how does this apply to us today?  Not every one of us can abandon our way of life to follow Jesus, at least not so absolutely as did these four men destined to be part of the 12 Apostles, three of whom would be martyred for Jesus.  So, we must come to understand the call of Jesus to each of us and how each of us must make a decision about how to follow Jesus as He calls us.

      As always, our Opening Prayer guides our spiritual reflection:

             direct our actions according to your good pleasure,

             that in the name of your beloved Son

             we may abound in good works

Answering the call of Jesus might not mean giving up our lifestyle completely, but it does mean our choices must conform to God’s will and not my own.  The Gospel begins with Jesus expressing that expectation: “repent and believe.”  To change our ways at least means to leave behind anything that is contrary to the will of God.  Definitely, sin and selfishness, failure to act charitably toward others, ignoring opportunities for prayer or to develop a spiritual life – all of this must be left behind if we are to act in ways pleasing to God.

“Good works,” which we pray to perform, do not replace our faith in Jesus or committing our life to him.  Faith is always first and essential, but faith shows itself by the actions in a person’s life.  So we pray that our actions will conform to our desire to follow Jesus; that they will strengthen our faith and commitment.  Andrew’s first “good work,” from last week, was to share Jesus with his brother, Simon, and bring Simon to Jesus.  We can do the same by works of charity and kindness toward others, inviting them to learn about having a relationship with Jesus.

The rest of Ordinary Time will be about growing in our commitment to Jesus and how we live that commitment through visible signs.  If we think “faith” or answering the call of Jesus is something that can remain totally in our mind or heart, never to be seen by others, we are missing out on God’s expectation that faith is something proclaimed and shared.

Join me in praying that in this turbulent time for our world, we will not only have interior faith and trust in God’s protective presence, but that we will abound in living that faith daily in how we care for each other, helping in small and simple ways to confirm the presence of God.  Every act of love and kindness moves our world toward healing and rebirth.

God bless!

 

Final Blessing:

 

             The Lord be with you.                                                              R/.  And with your spirit.

 

             And may the blessing of almighty God,

             the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

             come down on you and remain with you for ever.                 R/.  Amen.