Third Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B
January 24, 2021 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Jonah 3:1-5;10 | Psalm 25:4-9
I Corinthians 7:29-31 | Mark 1:14-20

+In the name of the Father, and of Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Have you ever procrastinated in your life?

As a child, I believed that I had all the time in the world to accomplish my goals, which, truth be told, at that time in my life, were very self-serving.  But as I aged and became better educated intellectually as well as spiritually, I realized that my days here on earth were limited, and it would be wise to enact a plan for doing God’s will.

As you may recall, Jesus explains to us in His Sermon on the Mount, the eight declarations known commonly as The Beatitudes, which will guide us on our journey towards salvation.

Today we are reminded in all of our liturgical readings of just how short our time on earth is.

In our first reading, the prophet Jonah is forlorn about his mission to travel to Nineveh to tell the people that their city will be destroyed by God due to their evil ways.

Nineveh is significant in the Bible as it was the capital city of Assyria, a long-time opponent of Israel.  It is first mentioned in the Book of Genesis as a city built by the Assyrian King Nimrod.  Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh that they needed to repent of their wicked ways or face the consequences.

The term “repent” means “to turn away from evil and turn to the good.”  The Hebrew word “nacham” literally means to turn around or change your mind.  The Hebrew word “sub” means to “turn, seek or restore.”  We learn in the New Testament the Greek word “metanoia” which means to “change the mind.”  Therefore, “repentance” is a changing of the mind to think oppositely.

So when the people of Nineveh repented, God did not carry out His plan.

According to Pope Pius XI, “The Christian who is not spreading the love of God has not got that love within him.”  So, we must always remember to help all people in need, as room is abundant for all in heaven and our lives here on earth will be made better by striving to achieve happiness in heaven.

St. Paul reminds us again that our time here on earth “is running out” in our second reading from First Corinthians.  Paul’s message is a wake-up call to evaluate our relationship with God.

According to the Italian philosopher  Giorgio  Agamben,  Paul’s statements describing “those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not buying” is a concept characteristic of the messianic time and related to the concept of vocation or of calling.  Agamben defines “as if not” as a term used by Paul to reference the passing of the present form of this world into an apocalyptic time where nothing can be owned.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls His first disciples, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him and become apostles.  These men were simple fishermen, but Jesus saw in them their potential to become His closest companions and followers to spread the Good News of salvation to the world.

Just as these fishermen were called, each one of us has been called by God for a specific purpose.  God has a plan for each one of us, and it is our task to discern what that plan is and follow through with it faithfully.  We may not always know what God is calling us to do, but we can trust in Him that He will guide us and lead us in the right direction.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in our daily routines and forget that we are called to something greater than ourselves.  We may think that our lives are too ordinary or insignificant to make a difference in the world, but actually, that could not be further from the truth.  God can and will work within us, no matter how small our contributions may seem, to do great things for Him!

In this season of Ordinary Time before Lent, let us not grow complacent in our faith.  Rather, let us continue to grow in our relationship with God through prayer, study, and service to others.  Let us always be open to the call of God in our lives, knowing that when we answer that call, we too can become disciples of Jesus and bring His message of love, hope, and salvation to the world.

So may the Holy Spirit be our guide as we discern our calling and may She give us the strength and courage to follow it faithfully.