Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycles B
January 25, 2015
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First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31Gospel Reading: Mark 1:14-20
- The events of this Sunday’s Gospel according to Mark occur just after Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, and his temptation by the devil in the wilderness (Mark 1:9-13). It also occurs after the initial calling of the first four disciples we heard about last Sunday.
- Jesus begins his preaching after the arrest of John, who is considered to be the last of the Old Testament prophets. The time for prophecy is through: Jesus picks up John’s call to repent (verses 1-8, 15) and announces the kingdom of God (verses 14-15).
- Jesus calls for repentance before anything else—before knowledge, good works, even before faith. The word “repent” literally means to “change your mind”; to go from rebellion against God to obedience (Jeremiah 3:22; Isaiah 30:15; Hosea 14:2; Matthew 4:17; Mark 6:12).
- The call to repentance comes from the mercy of God, and the response is conversion, both initially and throughout the life of a disciple of Jesus.
- St. Mark tells us that Simon Peter, James, John and Andrew respond immediately to the call by Jesus (verses 18, 20). The first three of this four will later form the “inner circle” of Jesus’ Apostles, being present with him at key points in his ministry (Mark 6:35-43; Matthew 17:1, 26:37). Andrew will play a key part in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (John 6:8) which will lead to Jesus’ great Bread of Life discourse.
- What was Jesus’ invitation to these fishermen? What seems unusual about their response? What prior knowledge of Jesus do you think they had (Mark 1:14-15; John 1:35-42)? What might the elder Zebedee felt (verse 22)? How significant is the fact that Jesus’ very first disciples were fishermen (verses 16-20; Jeremiah 16:14-16)?
- When and why was John the Baptist arrested (verse 14; Matthew 4:12-17; Luke 4:14-15)? What significance does his arrest have for the beginning of Jesus’ ministry of preaching (verse 15)? How does it foreshadow the last days of his ministry?
- What is it about Jesus that makes you want to follow him?
- Different types of fishermen need different skills: sailing, casting, mending nets, reading charts, etc. If Jesus asked you to be a “fisher of men”, what skills could you bring?
- Spiritually, are you still sitting on the shore mending nets? Leaving the boat? Following right after Jesus? Feeling left behind?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 541, 1422-1424, 1427-1429, 787
Having before you many examples of sinners who repented and were saved, be you also earnest in confessing to the Lord, that you may receive pardon for past sins, be made worthy of the heavenly gift, and inherit the kingdom of heaven with all the saints. -St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+ A.D. 386)
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