Just when we think we know, there is something to face that we never expected and did not take into account. There is the call to discipleship and to catch people in the net of the Kingdom; the call to deny one’s very self and take up the cross that is laid on us by our sharing the truth and sufferings on behalf of justice; and there is the call to community in the Resurrection.
– Megan McKenna (Mark My Words!)
The readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mark 1:14-20) cycle B can be found here.
The scripture scholar will tell you that Mark foreshadows the passion of Jesus with the arrest of John the Baptist. John preached repentance and Jesus’ message of good news about the kingdom of God echoed that theme.
The main thrust of the Sunday Gospel deals with the call of the first disciples. The message throughout Mark’s Gospel is that God’s kingdom will require us to refashion our lives. There can be no greater model of acknowledgement for us than the call of the disciples.
The historian will tell you that to say fishing was a major industry in Galilee, at the time of Jesus, would be an understatement. The economics of Galilee was built around fishing. Mark tells us that the first disciples to be called were successful businessmen who owned nets and employed other fishermen. The cost of discipleship is clearly on display.
Jesus called these four fishermen into an entirely new way of being. It wasn’t based on study or theory or right interpretation. It was based on life and it was based on practice. People who fished were to become fishers of people. People who worked the land were to become laborers in the field of God’s harvest. Jesus would be their teacher not because he would teach them right doctrine but because he would show them a right life. It was a personal call and it was a specific call. Come follow me. Do what you see me do, speak like you hear me speak; imitate me. He would show them how to live and he would reveal the character of God.
–Rev. Dan Holland United Parish of Bowie.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote an entire book on the cost of discipleship. In it he tells us that “discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend – it must transcend all comprehension.” To underscore this Bonhoeffer explains that “the will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them.”
We are called to cast the nets of the kingdom and draw others to God. We must leave the comfort and security of our lives and follow Jesus. What we perceive as a good life is shaped by a society that is not built on God’s love.
We are not alone in this. The Gospel recounts many struggles the disciples of Jesus faced trying to reconcile their old understandings of life with those taught by Jesus. It is a lifelong struggle.
This Gospel reading reminds us that we are daily called to discipleship with Christ. We can answer that call if we say no to ourselves, and say yes to God.
If you take one thing away from this Homily it should be that God is calling us to change our lives. We need to shed our old understandings and to appreciate others as better than ourselves. We need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
I pray that you can follow the example of the first disciples and leave your old ways behind to follow Christ. Let Jesus take the lead, step where He steps and love how He loves.