Gospel Reflection: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Jon 3:1-5, 10

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."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD'S bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, "
when 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.


Mk 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 abandoned 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.


In today’s readings, we witness the proclamation of God’s message on two different occasions and see the actions taken by those who listened and believed, both in the messenger and in the message.

In the First Reading, God commands Jonah to warn the great city of Nineveh about its impending destruction. Jonah obediently follows God's direction, walking through Nineveh and sharing the message with everyone he encounters. His hope is that they will listen and change their ways. Fortunately, the people of Nineveh believe God and repent.

It is interesting to note that today’s Gospel begins with “after John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God.” Despite the arrest of John, Jesus continued with the mission entrusted to Him. While the Gospel doesn’t explicitly describe how Jesus felt, we can imagine that the suffering He experienced, knowing His cousin was in danger, revitalized and strengthened His calling. And so, He moved forward, calling the men that John had prepared to follow and join Him in His mission.

In the Gospel, we see Jesus walking through Galilee, much like Jonah walked through Nineveh, proclaiming the Good News. This direct, eye-to-eye encounter with people most effectively conveys God’s message of mercy and love, inviting the listener into a turning away – a sincere repentance. Simon, Andrew, James, and John see Jesus eye-to-eye and hear His voice before turning away from the security of their livelihoods to follow Him.

Proclaiming the Gospel always comes at a great cost – the cost of leaving parents, friends, dreams, and more for the salvation of souls and to make Him known, adored, and loved. Today, I invite you to join me in prayer for my brother priests and all the missionaries around the world who have heeded God’s call, persisting in their mission despite the difficulties, and continuously offering their lives to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel, sometimes even at the cost of their own lives. Please pray for more young men and women to have an eye-to-eye conversation with Jesus about His call to the Priesthood and Religious Life.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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