Sunday, January 24, 2021

Drop what you're doing and follow

 Readings for Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jonah 3:1-5,10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20)

If there is anything that the past year has shown us, the verse from Paul's letter to the Corinthians rings true: For the world in its present form is passing away.

Since we are inundated with political media, I will not focus on that, other than to say we are still in a the midst of a pandemic, coming close to the year mark that states began to shut down, and we now have a new American President in office.  But let us not just look at the world we live in, but look at ourselves.  If last week's readings were about listening, today's readings are about doing. In the first reading from Jonah, When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them.  Even at the very moment He wanted to smite them, He recognized their change, not in word or thought but in deed.  It is up to us to change.

The past year has brought many challenges, mostly emotional ones; missed opportunities because of the shut down; loss of loved ones; the inability to connect with my students the way I hoped to because of the forced distance learning; the anxiety of being in the hospital knowing I could bring this home to my babies.  It was so easy to shut down and shun the world, and guiltily I did.  The world prior to this pandemic was gone, and I had to make it in a new world.

But what it forced me to do was to challenge myself and find opportunities where I would never have looked before; celebrate the goodness in life because it could be our last; find new ways of connecting to people and avenues to reach people's hearts; keep myself as safe as possible, taking the necessary precautions so I have less of a chance to bring home this deadly infection.  But I had to make the choice to change myself, see God's call where I did not see it.

How did I change?  It wasn't an easy task.  But in the end, I had to believe that there was still goodness in the world, because to see the goodness in the world was to see the goodness of God.  But I had to work on myself from the inside; find new avenues for my spirituality in order to continue in the mission He set before me.  But what good will all of this do?

In the second half of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said to Simon Peter and Andrew "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."  They and James and John dropped their nets where they were and followed Jesus.  They dropped their old lives and followed in Jesus' way.  Fishing was their livelihood, the way to feed themselves and their families.  Yet they left it all behind.  We are called to forget how we were and find a new way to be.  However in order to do this, we must have great faith.  But how can we have great faith?  By believing in the Gospel of our Lord.

In the Responsorial Psalm, it reads Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old.  In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord.  God has always loved us.  We must trust in that love, and follow in His truth.  We cannot continue to live the life we used to if we are going to follow His call to action, be that compassionate loving follower that others are going to want to see the truth of God's love.