First reading - Jonah 3: 1–5. 10
Responsorial psalm - Psalm 24 (25): 4–9
Second reading - 1 Cor. 7: 29–31
Gospel - Mark 1: 14–20
Link to readings.
In the weeks following Christmas, we have been invited to reflect on Jesus’s call, beginning with him being drawn out of the waters of baptism and into his missionary life. This week (in Mark’s Gospel) we see the fishermen – Peter, Andrew, James and John – respond immediately to that same call. They are drawn from the waters by Jesus to become fishers of people.
The First Reading tells of the second call of Jonah, who initially refuses the Lord’s request, and tries to run away. Then, in a humorous reversal of fishing logic, Jonah is caught by an obedient fish. The Lord continues to be with him, however, for, at the command of the Lord, Jonah is saved from the water and is empowered to respond to the Word.
In the Second Reading, St Paul urges the Church at Corinth that nothing should be allowed to interfere with their obedience to the Word. He says that time is short and that everything, from domestic to international affairs, should be seen from the context of Christ.
There is much calling to which we are invited to respond. As with Jonah and the first disciples, we are called by the same voice, inviting us to take steps on the path toward that which is good and true.
Today’s Psalm also offers a simple, initial response for both new and not-so-new disciples alike. It is a good prayer for the coming week:
‘Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths.’
Psalm 24 (25)
I come to my place of prayer, aware of being in God’s presence.
I receive this psalm knowing that Jesus and his disciples would have prayed it too.
I read the verses of the psalm slowly and prayerfully, choosing to put myself in God’s hands.
I ask him to teach me how he wants me to live my life in response, in a spirit of truth and love.
I notice what thoughts and feelings surface in my mind and heart.
I speak with God about them – confident that he listens with love and understanding.
I share with God any concerns or worries that I have about the future, and ask again that, in his goodness, he will remember me with mercy, and teach me to ‘walk in his truth’.
During the week, I may wish to use the response to the psalm as a brief prayer, now and in my busy times. It may help me when I am challenged or have a decision to make.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit ...
I read this text quietly from the heart. I allow words or phrases to touch me.
I let myself be drawn by what moves me.
It is the living Word, the Good News that Christ himself gives.
As I read, I might be impressed by the response of the disciples to the call of Jesus from the shore. It is whole-hearted.
Perhaps I am struck by the pace of the text.
Jesus says the time has come, and calls on the people to repent and believe.
He calls the disciples and they follow immediately.
I ponder on the ready trust they show in Jesus and on the trust he shows in them.
I might like to reflect upon the same Christ calling my name from the shore of my own life.
How does his voice sound?
Does it ring clear, or does it have to compete with other voices demanding my attention, investment, and commitment?
How does this voice console me?
I end my prayer by pondering this message of Good News.
I talk to Christ in my own words, asking that it sink down into the deepest part of my heart and soul; that I might really believe and trust.
Our Father ...
Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham.