Homily for the third Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 1:14-20


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.' And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him."





Homily:


"Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.' "


John the Baptist has just been arrested by Herod. John, in fact, had reproached King Herod for his licentious life: Herod lived with Herodias, the wife of Philip, his brother. Herod respected John and liked to hear him speak, but Herodias detested him. It is because of her that Herod had John thrown into prison. Later on, Herod had him decapitated, due to a stratagem of Herodias' (cf. Mk. 6:21).


So the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. For John was the last of the Prophets of the Old Covenant. Since he was in prison, condemned to die in a little while, and since he lacked the modern means, such as portable telephones and satellite links, which allow us to communicate across prison walls, it had become impossible for John to pursue his mission: the Old Covenant lost its last prophet, and the New Covenant could now appear in the light of day!


The time is fulfilled! Saint Paul explained what this means when he declared: "But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman." (Gal. 4:4) Thus, the time was fulfilled at the Incarnation and Birth of the Savior of men. But if the Incarnation cannot be further perfected, on the other hand the Birth of Jesus is realized ceaselessly in our midst: each time that a man or a woman converts himself or herself, that person is reborn, born again, and allows Christ to be born again in our world!


When we turn ourselves toward Jesus, when we get out of ourselves and stop loving ourselves, then the birth of the Lord becomes even more manifest in the world and, then, the time is fulfilled! The further we advance in time, the closer we get to the end of time, for the Lord Jesus is being born among us ever more and more!


"And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him."


When Jesus meets Simon and Andrew here, he already knows them, for he had met them before, when John was still free. We had spoken of this last Sunday (cf. Jn. 1:35-42) Now, John is in prison, and when Jesus meets Simon and Andrew, the time is fulfilled. Now, when Jesus speaks, the Holy Spirit acts powerfully in the soul of those who hear this word of the Lord, who teaches and who calls us to follow him!


Of course, before calling Simon and Andrew, Jesus had realized his first miracle at Cana, in Galilee. But this was an exception, one that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, obtained, as a superabundance of grace and mercy. Moreover, Jesus had said to his Mother: "Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come." (Jn. 2:4) Humanity's trial and waiting were supposed to have lasted longer, but Mary obtained that this time be shortened. It is the same with the great tribulation of which the Lord speaks in Saint Matthew: "For the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Mt. 24:22)


"And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him."


Simon, Andrew, James, and John are all invited by the Lord to change their lives, to practice another kind of fishing: that which consists in catching men and women for God, for the Love of God! Without a doubt, the first apostles of Jesus continued to catch fish: they had to work in order to earn a living. But their spirit had changed: their spirit was now attracted to the realities of the Kingdom, by the Holy Spirit, while their feet remained attached to this earth and to this Sea of Galilee that allowed them to stay alive...


May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us before Jesus, as she did at the wedding feast of Cana! For there is great need in our world for the grace and mercy of the Lord to be superabundant everywhere, and as soon as possible! May the time of the Lord arrive sooner through the intercession and the mediation of Mary, who is all-powerful in the All-Powerful!




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