Daily Reflection
January 23rd, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalms 25:4-9
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

"Come here right now!"  "When are you ever going to grow up!"  Familiar expressions like these we all have spoken or had spoken to us.  Those who love us and whom we love, provide us with such urgent desires for the best to happen and usually, more quickly.

The Church in the third week of our growing into the newly-arrived Christ, has desires for us to "grow-into" and "get with the program."  Often we hear in the Hebrew Scriptures of the prophets whose warnings and pleading are not heard.  In today's first reading we hear of a most successful proclaimer; unwilling-Jonah does it right.  The great city of Nineveh needs to be brought back to its real greatness and Jonah speaks hard words which bring conversion from the top down.  God repents too at the change of heart of the Ninevites.

Paul, from whom we will be hearing in the weeks to come, speaks to his community in definite wake-up words, "I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out."  This short reading sounds similar to "Y2K" warnings we were hearing a few weeks ago.  The world as we know it is passing away.  Well the world after these words were written stayed pretty much the same as did our world after the turn last New Year's Eve.  We are pretty much the same, but the words of waking up and growing up are still ringing through the centuries.

The Gospel for today pictures Jesus announcing similar invitations to the people of His day as did Jonah.  The time is now to hear the good news and begin being the people of God again.  Jesus has less success than Jonah, but He does pick up four followers to begin the "New World" which is to replace the one passing away.  These four do not seem to be great sinners, but they are attracted to the person and His message of a good way to live. 

As parents call children "time after time," so Jesus calls us, all of us, from all times past to all times to come, to come follow Him into a "good life."  We do get "wake-up" calls about what life's all about.  We get called from the entanglements of our nets and the littlenesses of our lives, as were the first followers of Jesus.  We experience losses and tragedies which spin our heads and hearts and we wonder, "what's it all about."  These are such opportunities for each of us to say yes or no to His call. 

God, as revealed to us in Jesus, is so much more than the correcting-parent.  Will we ever grow up?  Will we ever respond to God's ways?  We are invited by a lovingly patient God Who constantly labors on our conversions.  Jonah came once through Nineveh, Jesus past the boats of James and John once and immediately there was response.  Is time running out on us?  We hold in faith to a God Who spins our heads and turns our hearts by invitation only, not by threats.  Time and God's love is not running out, but gently pursuing us to more and more conform to "the good life."

The first four who follow this new way, do not know what is going to be asked of them.  We do and we don't.  We know His teachings, but we don't know how they will affect our responses to the losses and tragedies of our particular lives.  We grow up slowly and so again these early days of the Church-year, we are asked to give Him a listen and try again to be attracted to Him and His ways.  Time is not running out, we keep running into time and each time we are asked to "come follow me." 

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Online Ministries
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts
from the
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts
from the
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office 
Home Page
University Ministry
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook