THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle A/Year I (Jan. 22, 2017)
Is 8:23; 9:3/1 Cor 1:10-13, 17/Mt 4:12-23
William Barclay said that the Greeks used to tell how Xenophon first met Socrates. Socrates met him in a narrow lane and barred his path with his stick. First of all Socrates asked him if he knew where he could buy this and that, and if he knew where this and that were made. Xenophon gave the required information. Then Socrates asked him, “Do you know where men are made good and virtuous?” “No,” said the young Xenophon. “Then,” said Socrates, “follow me and learn!”
Jesus Christ also called His disciples. They were ordinary people whom Jesus chose to be His Apostles. They had no academic background; they were neither rich nor famous. They were only fishermen who were ready to leave everything behind in order to follow Jesus. Jesus did not promise them anything in return of their discipleship. They were not assured of material or monetary rewards. Rather, Jesus only promised them eternal life in Heaven.
As we properly begin the ordinary season in the liturgical calendar of the Church, we are reminded of the fact that all of us are called by Jesus. We are called not because of who we are; not because we may be rich, famous, influential, educated, etc. Rather, we are called simply because Christ wants us to be with Him. Christ does not promise us any material or monetary rewards. He only wants us to acquire everlasting life in the second life.
Since Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and thus God Himself, there is no proper response to His call than the response of the first disciples: following Jesus. First of all, the first disciples left their boats and family and then followed Jesus. The boat is the security of the fishermen. Without boat, they had no work and money. Their family would hunger the following day if they would not work that day. Yet they left their boats. We too must leave our boats. We must leave our own source of security and consider Christ to be our only security in life. The first disciples left their families, the source of their all kinds of supports. We too must be able to leave everything behind that can hinder us from loving Jesus wholeheartedly.
The first disciples followed Jesus wherever He went and stayed with Him. As Christians, we must follow Jesus wherever He goes. Jesus Christ went to Calvary and told us: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24). We must then deny ourselves of our personal plans and desires in order to follow the will and plan of God for us, and then take up our cross of personal responsibilities at home, in our working areas, and others. Finally we must follow Jesus Christ towards Calvary where He offered His life for our sake and for our salvation. We must follow Jesus Christ towards the death to our sinfulness and selfishness in order to live in the new life that Christ shared with us on the cross: the life of being the son or daughter of God.
Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we have been converted into children of God and thus have the courage to say: Our Father in Heaven. As we begin living a new year of Christian discipleship, let us then commit ourselves to leave everything behind like the first disciples and follow Jesus and only Jesus by living faithfully His teachings of loving God and serving our neighbors.