Date: Sunday, January 21, 2018
We detect urgency in the voice of Jesus. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.” John has been arrested! Jesus seizes the moment as if time is running out. Jesus in the Gospel according to St. Mark is on a rescue mission. But he takes time to engage Simon and his brother Andrew: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus will not be going alone. He then calls James and John.
They are fishermen – hardworking, motivated and skillful in sailing and fishing. Today they would be called entrepreneurs. As the Gospel unfolds, we will see/hear that they are also prone to stubbornness and seeking recognition. As disciples of Jesus they will asked to follow the teacher by listening to him, observing him and emulating his life. With Jesus, Simon, Andrew, James and John will be given the awesome responsibility of announcing and ushering in the Kingdom of God. It will be in stark contrast to the oppressive rule of the Roman Empire and King Herod where power is paramount. God’s Kingdom will consist in justice, fairness, sharing, compassion, care, healing and forgiveness.
Today Collin Jacob and Chloe Marie will be called and commissioned when they receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Like the disciples they will enter into friendship with Jesus and experience God’s mercy and salvation. Like the disciples they are being called to proclaim and inaugurate the Kingdom. There is still a sense of urgency to task entrusted to them and to all of us.
During the Prayer of the Faithful, we will remember and commend Robert, Norma and Rachel. Norma and Robert lived full lives. Rachel, a young girl, died in a car crash. St. Paul tells the Church at Corinth: “Time is running out.” That is true no matter how young or old we are. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves (and it will be asked of us): “What have we done with the time given to us?”