CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Third Sunday of the Year: He inaugurated a new era

Jesus begins his ministry preaching the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. 
 
The Israelites, who got deported and destroyed and now under the Roman rule, had been cultivating over the centuries the hope of the reign of God. So the Kingdom of God is a phrase that falls in their ears with explosive charge. 
 
The time of waiting—he says—is over; it is time of consolation and peace, the kingdom of God is here; the Lord’s promises are fulfilled. 
 
Mark adds an emergency nature to the call to belong to the Kingdom ‘immediately!’ He wants to give a lesson of catechesis to anyone who one day feels called by Jesus. The passage does not refer to the vocation of priests and sisters. It speaks about the call of every person to be a disciple. It is about the vocation to baptism.
 
Jesus, is moving quickly, in a hurry not only in walking, but in speaking, in inviting to follow him. It looks like a race against time. In fact it is the anxiety to announce, “the time has come.”
 
It was noted that, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus never stops: passing along the Sea of Galilee (v.16), he calls and does not turn back to see if the disciples have accepted his invitation. He goes straight over (v. 19), calls the other two and then continues on his way without stopping for a moment (v.21). The Master leaves no room for rest even for a moment. He does not grant months off, days or hours of vacation. He demands that the disciple keeps pace, always.
 
Simon and Andrew, James and John are called from the middle of their work. God does not turn to the idlers, people without ideals, without concrete benchmarks, but to those who are fully inserted in their social, economic, family context. The adherence to Christ in faith is never a stopgap, a consolation for those who failed in other goals, but a proposal made to committed people.
 
The Ninevites were granted forty days to accept or reject the invitation to conversion. Elisha was allowed to “say goodbye to his father and mother” before following Elijah (1 Kings 19:20). 
 
To his own Jesus does not grant any postponement. To one he will say, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them and proclaim the kingdom of God. Whoever has put his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-62).
 
The answer to his call must be given immediately. The separation must be total and immediate; nothing can prevent to follow him. 
 
Even the most sacred affections, such as those that bind one to the parents and the family, attachment to one’s profession, the need to have an economic and social security, the desire not to lose friends, everything must be sacrificed if it is in conflict with the new life to which Jesus calls.
 
 
● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/3rd-sunday-in-ordinary-time-year-b-january-21-2018/
Translated by Father John Ladesma
Abridged by Kandamkulathy Jijo