Sunday, January 24, 2021 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
Last Sunday, we heard Jesus inviting his first disciples to “come and see”. This Sunday, which is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the Gospel according to St. Mark we hear His call to “come follow me.”
“In the wilderness Jesus has withstood Satan’s temptation, and, strengthened in spirit by this personal combat, he comes into Galilee, the “springtime” place of first preaching, first ministry, first calling of disciples. Yet there has also been a winter: the arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist, which add urgency to Jesus’s first spoken words in Mark’s gospel. The time of God’s reigning presence is at hand, and this Good News of God demands a response. “Repent, and believe in the gospel” may have been repeated as an early Christian baptismal call to the catechumens (the elect) as they descended into the Easter waters to rise up as God’s new creation. At infant baptism our parents and our faith community made this response for us; the challenge is for us to say our own continuing adult “Yes” to this call and grow in our discipleship.
Urged on by his sense of mission, Jesus passes along the lakeside, the Sea of Galilee. He “saw” Peter and Andrew, with a seeing that penetrates to their deepest selves and their future potential as his disciples whom, with all their successes and failures, he will make fishers of people to draw others into the kingdom. All that Simon and Andrew will become will be because of Jesus and, with contagious gospel urgency, “they abandoned their nets” – the source of their income – and follow him. A little further on another two brothers, James and John, sons of Zebedee, are called while they are involved in their fishermen’s task of mending nets. Once again the call and response is immediate and the dispossession is radical when they follow Jesus. It is significant that the first disciples whom Jesus calls are people who must leave what is indicative of their success in a brotherly and family venture: boats, nets, hired servants, parent. They follow Jesus, not hoping for a better lifestyle, but urged by his words to an unconditional obedience to him. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus gathers a community around himself in a relationship of “brotherliness” that the call of two sets of brothers may also suggest.
In some ways, calling fishermen to His work seems like an odd choice and yet the skills needed for catching fish (patience, perseverance, hard work, ability to weather storms) would likely come in handy when fishing for people. Within the gospel, Jesus chooses ordinary people with everyday occupations to be his closest collaborators. Though they were not the obvious choices for founding his church, in following Jesus the disciples gained the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to carry forth Jesus’s mission after his death and resurrection. Today, Jesus continues to call ordinary, everyday people to be “fishers of men.” How will we respond?” (Living Liturgy 2021)
This week our Bishop Crosby published a pastoral letter entitled “For the Common Good”. It had been shared on our Facebook page and will also be available for you to read in our parish bulletin tomorrow. The Bishop reflects on the difficult situation that we find ourselves in right now and encourages us to maintain our spiritual life amid the ongoing lockdown as we are prevented from attending Mass in person and receiving the Body of Christ.
Please note that the parish office remains closed at the present time until February 10, or until further notice. We are monitoring emails and phone calls, replying to them whenever possible to address the most urgent needs.
In your prayers, please remember the souls of our parishioners who passed away this week and their mourning families: Luigi Maciariello and Bruno Perusin. Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.
I will be sending an email tomorrow regarding the upcoming First Reconciliations and First Communions to the parents and guardians of this year’s Grade 2 students, as well as to those of this year’s Grade 3s who did not participate in these Sacraments this past fall. Please stay tuned!
You are invited to join in with the celebration of the Lord’s Day Mass at 10:00am this Sunday, with the Rosary prayed at 9:30am. Also, children are invited to join in with Children’s Liturgy on our YouTube channel, available starting at 8:00am every Sunday.