January 13, 2020 (Monday of Week 1, Year II)
Dear friends in Christ, there is something very different in the way Christianity shapes people. Christianity is a call to an uncommon way of life. It is something that calls for careful reflection on the side of anyone who chooses to follow Jesus. He had told a young man who offered to follow him that, “Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have their nests, but the son of man has no where to lay his head.” The situation of Jesus and the followership that he calls people to, is critical. That is what the Mother Church calls us to reflect on as we step into the ordinary time of the year.
The Gospel of today is taken from Mark 1:14-20. Shouldn't one expect that on this first day of the work week, the church will talk about prosperity, and pray like never before that everyone will attain uncommon success in this week and the year through? Rather, the church begins on a sober reflection of the call to follow Jesus. Jesus began his ministry by preaching repentance—metanoia, the turning around. John the Baptist had preached the same message before his mission came to an abrupt end. We must turn around from pursuing material things at the expense of our eternal goal. To spread the message however and to have helping hands, Jesus sought out some men who are trainable, but also humble, and he began by calling fishermen— Simon and his brother Andrew; James and his brother John. These were hardworking men whose life and work was disrupted by the call. Nonetheless, they themselves were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah like any Jew of the time and they wasted no time in accepting the invitation of Jesus even though they were not sure at the time, that he was the Messiah.
These men had to leave everything to follow Jesus. There are still people in the Church today who do just that, abandoning themselves in religious obedience to the Church of Christ, to send them wherever they may be needed, to proclaim the good news and become fishers of men. There were many other disciples however called by Jesus who didn't have to abandon their regular way of life but had to bring Jesus and his message into what they do. There are so many today, laymen and women who are living sincere and honest lives in the service of the church and the society and are living by the Gospel example. Motivated by the call of Jesus, they are transforming the world by their way of living. They give without counting the cost and they organise others to give along with them to satisfy the needs and aspirations of those who are in need.
The Lord invites you, “Come follow me…” within your present situation, he wants you to abandon the way of the world and live according to the gospel values. Will you like Simon, Andrew, James and John, accept the call?
Let us pray: Lord it is hard to be your Apostle, to follow in your footsteps. We cannot do it by ourselves, endow us with the grace to follow you more closely. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen