Our Unique Call

  • January 11, 2021 (readings)
  • Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
  • Janet Schuster
  • 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.

    Opening Prayer: Lord, I come before you as I am, with the gifts you have given me, aware of my weaknesses and dependent on you. Help me see the world the way you see it and to love accordingly.

    Encountering Christ:

    1. God’s Will Be Done: John had been arrested, and Jesus came to Galilee with full authority from the Father to proclaim the Gospel and encourage repentance. John’s humble acknowledgment, “He must increase; I must decrease,” (John 3:30) was now fulfilled. How did John feel about this? “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete” (John 3:29). Knowing his purpose and seeing that Jesus’s ministry was flourishing gave John joy. We also desire the fulfillment of God’s plan for our lives. We decrease and Our Lord increases, shining through our words and actions. 

    2. Called: Two sets of brothers worked side-by-side, day after day, fishing in the Sea of Galilee, four individuals among many, many fishermen at the time. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus states that there were more than 230 fishing boats working the Sea during that period. Jesus walked by those two boats and called the sets of brothers to follow him, forever changing their lives and the lives of their families. Our Lord has an individual and unrepeatable call for each of us as well. He calls us to action in the midst of our everyday tasks, requiring no expertise in evangelization, just a heart ready and willing to love others for his sake. 

    3. Following: Because they accepted Jesus’s invitation, we have our first pope, the Gospel and letters of John, and letters from James. What graces they brought to the early Church and to us many years later. By design, the living of our vocation in accordance with God’s will showers graces on us, as well as on those we love, and on the whole Church. We may never see (in this life) the fruits of our “yes” to becoming a follower of Christ, but every act of love has eternal consequence. “If the perspective is temporal, love will remain (cf. “never fails,” 1 Corinthians 13:8), even when faith has yielded to sight and hope to possession” (USCCB footnote on 1 Corinthians 13:13).

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, you are great indeed, and holy is your name. Thank you for this time with you. Help me to trust you, love you above all things, and follow you according to your holy will. Never let me be separated from you.

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will entrust my work to you, and consciously offer my labor as a sacrifice of love for those dearest to me.
    For Further Reflection: 1 Corinthians 13: St. Paul’s testament to never-failing love.


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