3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 25, 2009 Year: B
Jn 3:1-5, 10; 1 Cor 7:29-31; Mk 1:14-20
make you fishers of men
"The word of
the Lord came to Jonah, saying, 'Get up, go to Nineveh,
that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I
tell you.' So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh,
according to the word of the Lord.
Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days'
walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a
day's walk. And he cried out, 'Forty days more, and
Nineveh shall be overthrown!' And the people of Nineveh
believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone,
great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their
evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that
he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do
it." [Jon. 3:1-5, 10]
sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now
on, let even those who have wives be as though they had
none, and those who mourn as though they were not
mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not
rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no
possessions, and those who deal with the world as though
they had no dealings with it. For the present form of
this world is passing away." [1 cor. 7:29-31]
"After John was
arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good
news of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon
and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea - for
they were fisherman. And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me
and I will make you fishers of people.' And immediately
they left their nets and followed him.
As Jesus went a little farther, he saw James son of
Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat
mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they
left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired
men, and followed him." [Mk. 1:14-20]
Discipleship is costly. Jesus’ call to follow him in
turbulent times has been eloquently expressed by
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Discipleship (Dietrich
Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 4). Karl Barth says of this book
that it is “easily the best that has been written on
this subject,” and that, “I cannot hope to say anything
better on the subject than what is said here by a man
who, having written on discipleship, was ready to
achieve it in his own life, and did in his own way
achieve it even to the point of death."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian
during the turbulent years 1930-45. His book on
discipleship was written during the years 1935-37 when
he was leading the illegal Confessing Church’s seminary
at Finkenwalde. Until the Gestapo closed it down in late
1937, Bonhoeffer trained young men to shepherd the
church, to preach, to do good theological thinking. His
life would end in the concentration camp of Flossenberg
where he was executed in April, 1945.
Bonhoeffer, there is a very concrete spirituality
manifested in the life of discipleship. It is
spirituality gained by passing through the fire. “When
Christ calls a person, He bids them come and die.” “And
if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it
lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To
answer this question we shall have to go to him, for
only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us
to follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know
that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship
this period of his life, it is important to note that
Bonhoeffer eschewed violence. He could be considered a
‘pacifist.’ Of course his later turn about to
participation in the murder plot on Hitler does signal a
very real change in him. Walter Wink raises this
question: “If counter-violence appears to be the only
responsible choice, this still does not make violence
right. Bonhoeffer is a much-misunderstood case in point.
He joined the plot to assassinate Hitler. But he
insisted his act was a sin, and threw himself on the
mercy of God. Two generations of Christians have held
back from full commitment to non-violence, citing
Bonhoeffer’s example. Had he known, both that his
attempt would fail, and that it would have the effect of
justifying redemptive violence in the eyes of so many
Christians, I wonder if he would have done it.”
not easy for Bonhoeffer to go back on his commitment to
non-violence seen in his book on Discipleship. His later
writings indicate that he had spent some considerable
time reflecting on the implications of this change.
Bonhoeffer’s life and his book on Discipleship are
important resources when considering the possibilities
of the redemption.
I would also want to emphasize that it is Jesus as the
human model that is essential. That is, it is an aspect
of Jesus’ priestly function: to model our spirituality
for us, our relationship to God. Why? Because we are
included in Him, Jesus is our corporate head, the Second
Adam, the One who got it right.
believe that Bonhoeffer was desperate, in the sense
that, he was watching from the inside, the destruction
of everything he held dear as a German, a Lutheran, a
theologian, a Berliner. It must have been awful.
14:27: And whoever does not bear his cross and come
after Me cannot be My disciple.
Denying ourselves means being willing to renounce any
so-called right to plan or choose, and to recognize His
Lordship in every area of life. To take up the cross
means to deliberately choose the kind of life He lived.
Coping with opposition of loved ones.
Coping with reproach from the world
Forsaking all else for Him if need be, and the
comforts of this life.
Complete dependence on God.
Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Proclaiming an unpopular message.
Suffering for the sake of righteousness.
Enduring slander and shame.
Pouring out one’s life for others.
Death to self and to the world, denial of self.
also involves laying hold of a brand new life, real life
in Jesus! It means finding out the real reason for our
existence. And it means eternal reward. We so often run
away from a life of cross-bearing. Our minds are
reluctant to believe that this could be God’s will for
us. Yet the words of Christ “If anyone desires to come
after Me” mean that this is the cost of discipleship for
each of us, but consider the blessings to follow, and
the joy that comes from living close to the Lord.
we meet the Lord on that day to we want Him to say "Well
done my good and faithful servant.” So it is all or
nothing. What a change is wrought in our lives when we
surrender our all to the Lord.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus often
For Simon and Andrew, it meant
leaving their business behind
For James and John, it also meant
leaving their family behind
For all four, it meant lives of
service that included hardship, ending in martyrdom
Becoming a disciple of Jesus means to
seek the lost...
As disciples of Christ today...
Are we willing to sacrifice for the
Are we willing to seek the lost?
If not, can we really claim to be
disciples of Jesus Christ?
Jesus would have everyone become His
disciple today (cf. Mt 28:19-20).
May "The Call Of Four Fishermen", and the
service they rendered to the
Lord, inspire us to greater dedication as