WE ARE THE DISCIPLES OF TODAY
Today we begin to read from the Letter to the Hebrews. God speaks to us in nature, in the people around us, in the events of life. Yet we are often deaf to his words and his silence. Few listened to his messengers, the prophets. Finally, he spoke through his Son Jesus. The Letter to the Hebrews stresses this point: in the Gospel we hear Jesus speak and proclaim his Good News. But is it good news to us today? Do we accept it as words and the language of his actions addressed to us personally?
In the gospel, Jesus begins to preach the coming of the kingdom of God among people. He calls for penance and conversion and chooses his first disciples. These same words are addressed to us today: “Repent, be converted, be fishers of people for the kingdom.”
Lord our God, you invite us, disciples of your Son today, to be wholly converted to the gospel and to help extend your kingdom. Give us hearts open to the good news and the generosity to share it with people of our day. We ask you this through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen!
1 Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6
Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say: You are my Son; this day I have begotten you? Or again: I will be a father to him, and he shall be a Son to me? And again, when he leads the first born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 97:1 and 2b, 6 and 7c, 9
R. (see 7c) Let all his angels worship him.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne. R.
The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. Let all his angels worship him. R.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods. R.
Alleluia: Mark 1:15
Alleluia, alleluia. The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
Today, the liturgy begins again in Ordinary Time. The beginning of the Gospel of Mark opens the curtain on the first activities of Jesus: His preaching and the first fruits. Four fishermen drop everything and follow him. He preaches his first sermon in the Gospel of Mark: It Is too short. Just two sentences: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.’ Jesus in in Galilee, in the north of Israel, not very religious area. Jesus begins the activity “when John the Baptist was arrested.” The first objective of the proclamation of the Good News is that of forming a community. Jesus walks on the shore of the lake of Galilee, he sees and he calls. The first four who were called, Simon, Andrew, John and James, listen, abandon everything and follow Jesus. They eventually form a community with him. It seems to be love at first sight! According to Mark’s account, everything takes place in the first encounter with Jesus. Time (kairos) is fulfilled. God’s Kingdom has come, and it is near. Imagine living in Jesus’ day. The Roman Empire has taken over everything. Herod, the “King of the Jews,” is a hateful man who might kill anyone at anytime. And along comes a rabbi who proclaims that the time is fulfilled. It is the assigned time of God when God the King reveals his face to the humans and the Heaven and Earth are about to be joined together. Everything is about to change. Change for a people who are desperate for it. Jesus has two directions as this new kairosis being ushered in: repent, and believe in the good news. “Repent” means, quite literally “to turn around”. If we are walking down a dark and scary road of our wrong attitudes and behaviours, turning around is not a bad thing. You turn and run as quick as you can in the opposite direction. “Repent” is part of the literature of the time of the exile in Babylon, something that the Israelites knew very well. Repenting, when in exile, meant going home. And, Jesus telling us that we can go home, and that God will welcome us back, and throw His arms around us and that is the good news. And, that’s what Jesus calls us to believe in. It is time…and it’s time to go Home. And believe that in spite of our worst sinful behaviours, God our Father waits for our return.
– For the Church dear to us, that the Lord may help it to keep renewing itself, so that it may stay on the road of the gospel and that people can live the gospel as good news, we pray:
– For those who leave their nets to follow Jesus the Lord, that they may so live the gospel as to make it visible and tangible, we pray:
– For all of us in our communities, that the Lord may help us to take the gospel seriously and to live it in close union with the Lord, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, in these gifts of bread and wine we place our goodwill to follow your Son wherever he calls us. Let our encounter here with your Son and with each other mark a new beginning for us of unity and loyal love, that the seed of your kingdom may grow among us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, we know what you can do with weak, fallible people. In the strength of your Son, help us to do what surpasses our forces: to be your people and to be to the world the sign that you love everyone and that friendship and justice are no empty words for you and for us. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
The time is now. Repent and believe the good news. Come and follow me. Be my disciples. Jesus spoke these words long ago. He addresses them here and now to us. May you heed these words, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!