ALL THEY HAD WAS JESUS’ LOVE
(A biblical reflection on the THIRD ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR B], 24 January 2021)
SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD 2021
THE SEVENTH DAY OF THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:14-20
First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5,10; Psalms: Psalm 25:4-9; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 7:29-31
The Scripture Text
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed Him. (Mark 1:14-20 RSV)
What compelled these men to leave everything and follow Jesus? He had not promised them a lavish life, fame, or comfort. In fact, John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner, had just been thrown in jail (Mark 1:14) and was facing the very real threat of execution! Put simply, it was the love of Christ that moved them. There were no writings of the saints or doctrines of the Church yet. All they had was Jesus’ love, and that was enough.
In his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Jesus is the only Gospel: we have nothing further to say or any other witness to bear. To proclaim Jesus is itself to proclaim life” (Evangelium Vitae, 80). God created us with the desire that we would be with Him for eternity. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He is inviting us to enter into that relationship here and now, and to watch that relationship unfold over time.
This is the heart of the Gospel: Both as individuals and as a church, we are invited to follow Jesus, not a set of doctrines. We are invited into an intimate relationship with the Son of God, “who is close to us, who calls us to profound communion with Himself, and awakens in us the certain hope of eternal life” (Evangelium Vitae, 81).
According to St. Gregory of Nyssa [335-395], once a person is “adopted by the God of the universe as a son, he becomes part of the family of that Being, whose excellence and greatness no one can see.” This is our tremendous dignity as children of God. As our relationship with Jesus deepens, we come to understand why we were created.
We come to see ourselves as beloved children of God our heavenly Father. This is the life that God intends for all of us. Like these first disciples, let us live our lives proclaiming that Jesus alone is enough.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the fullness of life. We bless Your name. You are crowned with glory and honor. You are worthy of our entire lives. May all creation give You thanks and praise. Amen.
Jakarta, 23 January 2021
A Christian Pilgrim