January 24, 2021
by Gladyce Janky
Creighton University's Business and Law
click here for photo and information about the writer

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 68

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

Praying Ordinary Time

Rediscovering Corporal Works of Mercy

Pope Francis on instituting this Sunday as
"Sunday of the Word of God"

What was it about the invitation to "Come after me" that caused an immediate affirmative response by Simon, Andrew, James, and John?  They did not ask where they were going.  They did not go home to pack a bag.  Surprisingly to me, James and John's father did not object to being abandoned by his sons. Without question or further thought, they surrendered everything to follow a man known to them as the son of a carpenter.  Why?  Why did only four respond?

St. Ignatius would call Simon, Andrew, James, and John's immediate choice an election of the first kind. "When God our Lord so moves and attracts the will that without doubting or being able to doubt, such a dedicated soul follows what is shown, just as St. Paul and St. Matthew did when they followed Christ the Lord" (Sp. Ex. No. 175).  An election of the first kind looks spontaneous, but without some prior event(s) to stir an awakening of the soul; we cannot hear our call.  What had prepared the future disciples to respond?    

Amid the drudgery of life and the struggle to survive under Roman oppression, the Jewish people must have heard hope in the teachings of John the Baptist.  While mending their nets, the fishermen might have wondered about John's exhortation, "The Kingdom of God is near." To ease the pain of life's uncertainties, perhaps they shared their dreams about what it would be like living in God's kingdom.  Maybe they prayed for the coming of that kingdom.  In any event, they were ready and longing for an invitation the day Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus' words filled the emptiness in their souls, melting away doubts or the ability to doubt the carpenter.  Would we accept a carpenter's invitation? 

The invitation to "Come after me" happens every day.  Unlike the fisherman responding to the carpenter, we know a call from Jesus is a call from the Son of God.  God longs for us to articulate the hopes and dreams residing in the deepest recesses of our soul and then listen for our invitation.  Where might God's invitation take us?

God invites us to move into a deeper relationship that includes the promise that God will never abandon us.  The invitation does not end the uncertainty or hardships of life, but as our trust grows, so does our ability to see God in all things and accept the world as it is – we become more of our true selves.  We grow into a person that is ready to set the world on fire.  How might we prepare for God’s invitation?

Invitation:  Sit quietly with God, plumb the depths of our soul, and lift to God our deep longings.
How does God respond? 

"Your ways, O Lord, make known to me, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior" (Psalm 25: 4-5)

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