Catholic Men's Fellowship
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
Sunday, January 21, 2018
1st Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Responsorial: Psalm 25:4-9
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
Hearing and Responding to God’s Call to Evangelize
Come. (Mark 1:17)
Scripture has a way of condensing a lot of information into a few short sentences, and today’s Gospel is a perfect example. It’s possible that all Jesus had to do was say, “Come after me” to get Peter and Andrew to drop their nets, leave their families, and become disciples. But it’s far more likely that this story is the climax of a number of other encounters Jesus had with them. This observation can teach us two things.
First, our decision to follow Jesus is never a onetime choice. Second, our decision to help other people follow Jesus is never a onetime choice.
Some people marry only a few days after they meet. It’s unusual, but it does happen. And when it does, the couple has to deepen their marriage commitment if they want to stay together. Just so, even if Peter and Andrew said yes at a moment’s notice, their commitment to Jesus needed to grow. If it didn’t, they would have eventually left Jesus.
The same is true for us. No matter how mature our yes is, the Holy Spirit wants to take it to a deeper level. He wants to help us mature in our commitment to him so that we can know him better and become more effective servants of his kingdom.
This principle applies to our call to help other people follow Jesus. It’s always possible that our children and friends will immediately take our advice and give their lives to the Lord. But knowing human nature, it’s more likely that they will need more time and attention than one simple invitation. This means we need to be consistent in mirroring Jesus to them. Never stop showing them your love. Never stop caring for them. Never stop telling them that Jesus is about love and mercy, redemption and reconciliation.
Jesus is calling you to follow him today. He is asking you to keep evangelizing people with love and compassion. It’s a challenging call, but you don’t have to do it alone. Jesus has all the grace you need.
“Lord, I will follow you all the days of my life.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. For more information on how to subscribe to their devotional magazine, go to www.wau.org).
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
The first reading from the book of Jonah begins with these words: “The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying: ‘Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.’” When the people of Nineveh heard Jonah’s warning of God’s impending judgment on their city, this was their reaction and God’s reaction: “the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”
The responsorial psalm opens with these words: “Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.”
In the second reading, we hear these difficult and challenging words of St. Paul: “I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.”
In the Gospel reading, Jesus, like Jonah in the first reading, preached a message of repentance to the people of Galilee: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Also, in the Gospel reading, Jesus calls Simon and his brother Andrew with these words: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He also called James and his brother John, and like Simon and Andrew, they left everything “and followed him.”
In the meditation, we are told that “our decision to follow Jesus is never a onetime choice” and “our decision to help other people follow Jesus is never a onetime choice.” The meditation ends with these words: “Jesus is calling you to follow him today. He is asking you to keep evangelizing people with love and compassion. It’s a challenging call, but you don’t have to do it alone. Jesus has all the grace you need.”
Take some time now to pray and say yes to the Lord’s call to follow him, and to ask him for the grace to act on it. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.
“Lord, I will follow you all the days of my life.”
The discussion questions were created by Maurice Blumberg, who is in partner relations for The Word Among Us Partners, (http://www.waupartners.org/); a ministry of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) to the military, prisoners, women with crisis pregnancies or who have had abortions, and college students. He is also a member of the National Service Committee Council of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (http://www.nsc-chariscenter.org/) and a member of the board of directors of the Christlife Catholic Ministry for Evangelization (https://christlife.org/).
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