COME BACK TO THE LORD (Hos 14:2)

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Isa 40:1-5, 9-11; Ps 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14 (R.v.8); 2 Pet 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

Jesus began his ministry of preaching with a call to conversion, an indication of a continuity from where John left. But not just a continuity; there is an introduction of a new message that needs a radical change. That points to the strong desire of God to make sure that man gets the salvation he has prepared for him. Right from the moment man fell from grace, God began this mission of redeeming him. Hence, the story of Jonah in the First Reading represents one of efforts that God made in reaching out to man.

While the need to come back to God should take the central place in our mind today, there are some striking similarities the First Reading has with the Gospel that we need to consider so well. Both readings contain an invitation to people to share in the salvific mission of God. From our previous knowledge of Jonah, he resisted the invitation but God had to force him (cf. Jon 1:1 2:11). That is unlike the promptness with which the first four disciples that Jesus called answered him in the Gospel.

That promptness of the disciples could also be compared to the promptness with which the Ninevites responded to Jonahs call for repentance. More than that, their response was complete, reflecting a kind of wholeness. Can you not also notice that in the response of the disciples to Jesus call? And immediately they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:18). Leaving their nets can be interpreted as leaving their source of livelihood. Fish was a staple food among the Jews in Jesus time as well as an export commodity. That means they left their source of food and their source of income to follow Jesus.

Many of us today are like Jonah who showed resistance to Gods call. But todays liturgy calls us to rather chose the promptness, generosity and determination that characterised the response of the Ninevites and the four disciples that Jesus called in the Gospel.

That promptness is especially very important because, as St. Paul noted in the Second Reading, The appointed time has grown very short (1 Cor 7:29). In fact, Jesus said that the time is already fulfilled (Mark 1:15). Are you among the people who still postpone the response to another time? Tomorrow, even the next minute, might be too late for you.

As for me:
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back;
No turning back.

What of you?

O that today you would listen to his voice, harden not your heart. Have a blessed and faithful Sunday. Peace be with you.

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