Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

During a summer holiday a few years ago, I volunteered at a Bible institute that was organized to let Chinese students learn about Christianity. At one session, we studied the Gospel of Luke and the calling of the First Disciples. One of the Chinese students said that he knew the reason why Peter, James and John decided to follow Jesus; it is because Jesus knows how to catch many fish. In his view, Peter, James and John made a rational calculation to follow someone who can allow them to fish confidently.

The narrative of the calling of the First Disciple in Mark’s Gospel is slightly different than in Luke’s Gospel. In Mark’s Gospel, there is no narrative of Jesus leading his disciples to catch such a large number of fish that their nets begin to break. Jesus simply calls those fishermen and said, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they immediately abandoned their nets and followed him.

Having read today’s Gospel, we can reflect on why we decided to follow Jesus.  Are we following Jesus because of a rational calculation that Jesus will bring security and prosperity. Or, do we hear his calling, “this is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”?

January 25th, 2015