Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Ps 25:4-9; 1 Cor 7:29-31; Mk 1:14-20
In the early weeks after we celebrated the Birthday of Jesus, our Sunday Gospels are looking at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. After the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus begins his preaching ministry. Knowing that he needed help he walked along the Sea of Galilee and called his first four disciples: Peter, Andrew, James and John. In their day, they were professional fishermen in their home base of Capernaum. Jesus called them to leave that business and help him catch people. Jesus was such an attractive and compelling person that they left fishing and went with Jesus.
Over the years I have collected some beautiful pictures of Jesus. One I especially love is just his masculine face with beautiful eyes that draws me into it and on to the love and joy of knowing Jesus personally. Do you have such a picture? It really helps you grow in the joy of knowing and loving Jesus.
The message of Jesus was the same as John the Baptist about repenting of our sinful way of life and turning back to God. Jesus added the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As the disciples walked with Jesus they learned what he was about and how he loved and blessed God’s people. Later Jesus gave them his power to continue his work on earth. He gave them various channels to tap into his power to continue the work.
Jesus has called all of us and the whole Trinity greatly reduced their divine power to come and live inside each of us. That is one of the channels of divine power available to us. As we commit ourselves to follow Jesus’ teaching and work, how does he want us to help him love those around us each day? For most of you it does not mean leaving your family and going off to India or Iraq but being his loving concern and hands to help those around you each day. Know we have our own duties in life and we cannot solve everyone else’s problems. Sometimes just having a listening ear and a kind word and a prayer can very much help them. As we do this we find an inner joy in helping Jesus be present to others.
We can also grow in Jesus’ joy by spending some time in prayer, getting filled up ourselves and bringing to Jesus the needs of others in our family, work, city, state, country and world. We can go to Mass more frequently. We can pray the rosary, various litanies, novenas and a chaplet of Divine Mercy, asking God to pour out more of his love and mercy on more of his children. Amen. For a few months Jesus has sent me into a large public hospital to pray with the sick 4 days each week. Very merciful work.
The first reading is part of the Jonah story as God used him to convert the evil city of Nineveh. He told the people to convert or their city would be destroyed in forty days. He gave them a time line prediction or prophecy. Our country is so large that God would have to multiply Jonah thousands of times with that same message for the people of our country. I believe they would repent also and turn back to God. Yet God has not told us to do that drastic a thing. As in Ps 25 today, we can pray, "Your ways, O Lord, make known to us; teach us your paths."
Have a good week spreading the joy and love of Jesus to those you meet.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2015 Fr. Bob Hilz, T.O.R.)