3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


3rd. SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B) Mark 1:14-20 - Jan 21, 2018

The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.“

There are some Bible stories that we have heard since we were children. Even if they are true stories or just parables we enjoy them because we like child stories. One of the best known is Jonah´s being swallowed by a huge fish. God sent him, as a prophet, to preach to a non-Jewish territory, Nineveh. Jonah did not obey God. Some of you might think it was because Jonah was afraid of the Ninevites, but the truth is they were Jews´ enemies and Jonah was petty and selfish, he thought they would listen to God´s message, repent, and be forgiven by God. He did not want that. It would be like asking you to pray for your political opponent leader´s victory, or the triumph of your opponent sport team.

Jonah decided to run away from God. He took a ship and on the middle of the high seas, the ship was tossed about in a heavy storm. When the superstitious sailors found out that it was Jonah´s fault, they threw him overboard, luckily to be swallowed by a whale, and then, be thrown out upon the shore. After that terrible experience, Jonah learned the lesson; he went to Nineveh and preached repentance.

Our three readings today tell us about important calls from God. Jonah is called to tell the people of Nineveh that if they do not change they will be destroyed, “They believed God, proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threaten to do to them.” In his First Letter to the Corinthians Saint Paul says that “time is running out.” They need to believe the Gospel, they have no more time. Mark presents the beginning of Jesus´ preaching: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” He then calls, Simon and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John, as his first disciples and with the other eight they become the foundation of the Church.

The first words we hear from Jesus in his public ministry, according to Mark, are:"Repent and believe the good news." These should be the key words of his important message, and we continue to hear and to announce this same message. These words continue to be a challenge for us Christians.

In one of his books Anthony de Mello wrote, "Jesus proclaimed the good news, yet he was rejected. Not because it was good, but because it was new. We do not want new things when they involve change and most particularly if they cause us to say, 'I was wrong.'" When we go to confession we are aware that repentance as not only saying, “I'm sorry" but also “I make up my mind to change my life."

When Jesus called the first two couples of brothers to be his disciples, and the rest of them, he did not call them just to do a job, but to be apostles. He called us also to be disciples. How do you educate your children in the faith to be authentic disciples of Jesus? Do you teach them how to pray and you do it together at home and in Church on Sundays? Do you guard your family against immorality?

We call our Church, Catholic because it is universal. This is the way our Church has been since the time of Christ and the apostles, all people are included. Therefore we cannot close our hearts to others as Jonah, rather, we Catholics should open our arms and reach others to our Christian faith.

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