January 22, 2012 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
This is the call on every one of our hearts as Christ beckons us to Himself. We were made to live for Him, and He invites us to be His disciples, to live to love and serve Him, and, in so doing, to call others to do the same, thereby building the Kingdom of God and experiencing true fulfillment as human beings.
“Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in thee,” St. Augustine once said. Indeed, we were made to live for God, and, as these three scripture readings remind us, He invites us to do so.
In the first reading, Jonah serves as a “type” of Christ – setting about calling people to repeat and turn their lives to the Lord. What’s more, he encouraged them to turn their lives around quickly, alerting them that they did not have much time.
“Forty days more and Ninevah shall be destroyed.”
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reiterates this urgency to turn our lives around – “For the world in it’s former presence is passing away.”
We are not made for the here and now. We are made for something beyond this, and we must fix our eyes on God’s Kingdom, living in this world but not of it, serving Christ as “fishers of men,” thereby building His Kingdom.
In the Gospel reading, Christ clearly calls the first disciples to Himself. He invites them to follow Him, and we see them immediately “abandon their nets” and follow Him. The next two disciples Christ calls do the same. They immediately leave everything behind, even their own father, and followed Christ.
Our response must be exactly the same. Christ calls every one of us to follow Him, to repent and turn our lives around and live for Him. He expects us to do just as the first disciples did, to leave everything else behind and follow Him. This does not mean that in following Christ we are necessarily called to deny our secular careers or our families, but rather, to answer Christ’s call before all else. Everything we do – with our home life, our work lives, our lives at the parish, our hobbies – should bear witness to Christ. Our actions should show forth the love we have for Christ and the fact that He is more important than anything else in this world – even our families.
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus tells the disciples, who are seen fishing by the Sea of Galilee, “Come, after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He was calling them, fishermen by trade, to use their talents to serve Him. In much the same way, He calls each one of us to use our God-given abilities – our time, talents, and treasure – to serve Him, to proclaim His truth to a world in need and to invite others to come to know Him.
That’s what it means to be a disciple. That’s what it means to be a Christian steward: to put our lives at His service, to live, not for this world which, indeed, is passing away, but for Christ, and to proclaim Him to the world by all we say and do.
Christ calls every single one of us. May we be as ready, willing and eager to answer the call, as did the first disciples.