January 21, 2018 – 3rd Sunday, (Year B)
●● Jonah 3:1-5, 10 ●● Psalm 25 ●● 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 ●● Mark 1:14-20 ●●
[__01__] In this Gospel, Jesus is calling his disciples and speaking to them about the net, and putting down their nets. They are fishermen.
Perhaps, you have not been involved – on fishing boats on a lake or ocean – setting up a fishing net. But, there is a certain type of net or network with which we concern ourselves.
That is, the communications network – or net / internet – in our homes and places of business becomes an important topic of conversation.
For example, there are many devices and routers and cables. We place them strategically for optimal transmission and reception. Download speeds, upload speeds, et cetera, et cetera.
And, then with this net we have to decide where we can display (or hide) the blinking devices. Do you want that thing in the living room? Outside your room? On top of the refrigerator.
What is going to help us communicate and get the signal within the building/house, to each other and to others?
Where is the net?
How do we set up the net?
[__02__] Jesus is speaking about a new net for his disciples, not a net for fishing, but a new net or network a connection among themselves as disciples and a network to new people to whom they are called to preach.
Jesus also interrupts them at their regular place of work, of business.
Sometimes, an interruption to us to see people – even loved ones – out of context.
Consider those times when your parents – or a younger sibling – or a family member – appeared in your life or in the middle of your day unexpectedly.
Maybe, your mother showed up at school when you were not expecting her, or a sibling showed up when you were hanging out with your friends.
This is a network disruption but also a reminder of our connection to others.
[__03__] Jesus interrupts Peter, Andrew, James and John at their place of work.
He also interrupts us at our place of work if we are open to his presence.
He might be speaking to us through a person across the desk from us, across the garage, kitchen, laboratory, classroom, through a person who desires our friendship, a person who desires our forgiveness.
Forgiveness – whether we are asking for forgiveness or trying to forgive someone else – is often (always?) an interruption of our regularly programmed activity, and disruption in the network.
[__04__] Jesus is setting up a network and present to us in our network of relationships.
Sometimes, he arrives at what we think are inconvenient times, asking us to put aside our nets and to follow him, each day.
[__05__] He is also asking us to do this with prohibitions in our lives, to things that we are called to say NO to.
When we encounter a limit, a boundary in our lives, we are called to consider where is the YES, the Good News even in what I might experience as a prohibition.
This past Friday, there was the March for Life, national Pro-Life event in Washington DC which is often – rationally or legally – associated only with something that we cannot do or should not do.
Our Catholic ethic and spirit is reminding us not only about the NO, but also about the YES. That we are saying YES to life starting at conception and the nurturing of life at all stages.
An analogy – is the ideal of marriage, the sacrament of matrimony. Consider that when a man and woman get married, each one is saying YES to the other person’s happiness and to their salvation.
That is, the other person’s happiness is equally important to my own happiness. Now, of course, we do not live this perfectly – 100% - every single day. However, it is our ideal, isn’t it?
And, is it not our hope that the other person thinks that my happiness is as is important to his own or her own?
That’s a pro-life ethic, to put the other person first. And, to say life is to be nurtured – at all stages – means that we are putting the other person’s life is equally important as my own life.
[__06__] Yes, God appears – Christ appears – sometimes out of context and at times that we are not expecting, asking us to put aside our nets, to follow him.
Coming to Mass on Sunday morning is a time to put aside our nets but we also remember that God comes to us at all times and places, even when we are not in church. And, sometimes to say NO to something so that we can say YES to his presence and yes to faith, hope and love in our lives.