Jesus launches His public ministry in Galilee and calls His first Apostles. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit so he can hear and accept Christ’s personal to to follow Him and by seeking the Gift of the Fear of the Lord from the Holy Spirit so he can be moved by the Spirit to continual conversion.

Liturgy

3rd Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle B – Mk 1:14-20

Commentary

Following the miraculous manifestation of the Trinity at Jesus’ baptism, and His grueling 40-day ordeal in the wilderness, Jesus emerges from the wilderness and learns John the Baptist has been arrested. Jesus returns to the region of Galilee, first to His hometown of Nazareth, and then relocates to the larger trading town of Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee.

The calling of the first Apostles by Jesus is stunning for several reasons. Acting more like a King than a rabbi, Jesus calls His men to Himself; traditionally, men chose the rabbi they wished to follow. Rather than finding a following among the learned or well-connected, Jesus calls ordinary working-class men, men with no formal education or connections to wealth or power. It is striking, with only a simple call by Jesus, all four of these Apostles (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) immediately follow, leaving their livelihoods and possessions (their nets and boats); remarkably, James and John even leave their father, Zebedee.

These four men are Jesus’ first chosen leaders, play a prominent part in His public ministry, and go on to lead the Church after the Ascension of Jesus. Simon, renamed Peter (Greek for “rock”) by Jesus, becomes part of Jesus’ “inner circle” (with James and John), is given authority over the Church, becoming the first pope after the Ascension of Jesus, and directs his assistant St. Mark to write the Gospel of Mark. Andrew (Greek for “manly”) becomes the apostle to the Greeks. James (with brother John, is called by Jesus , the “Sons of Thunder”) is also part of Jesus’ “inner circle”, and will be the first martyred. John, the youngest, also part of Jesus’ “inner circle”, is given responsibility to watch over the Blessed Virgin Mary after Jesus’ death, and writes two key books of the New Testament, the Gospel of John and the Revelation to John. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at how Jesus, Divine King and greatest Leader, with mysterious Divine Knowledge, recruits men who appear to be unexceptional (lowly fisherman), who are immediately compelled by the powerful Charisma of Jesus to leave everything (families, homes, work), and who will go on to carry out exceptional heroic acts of evangelization and martyrdom, which fundamentally change world history as they build Christ’s Holy Catholic Church. 

Hear and accept Christ’s call to follow Him

Realize: Just as Jesus first established His Holy Catholic Church by calling men to Himself, even so today does Christ call every Catholic man to leave the world behind to follow Him. 

Believe: Reflect upon Christ’s Call to the Apostles (CCC 541, 787).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Wisdom so I am drawn into deeper union with the Blessed Trinity and can hear, understand, and respond to the Son’s personal call to me to follow Him. 

Be moved by the Spirit to continual conversion

Realize: Though some today ignore or endorse some kinds of mortal sins rather than to courageously call sinners to repent from sin, Jesus commands men to repent from sin as the first required step in the spiritual life (Mk 1:15); it is a call for each man to fiercely and continually engage in the Spiritual Combat against every single sin in his life. 

Believe: Reflect upon Mortal and Venial Sin (CCC 1849-1876) and Continual Conversion (CCC 1423,1427-1429).

Pray: Holy Spirit, help me to fear the fires of Hell and give me the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so I have a deep fear of disappointing and being separated by sin from my beloved Savior and seek His forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.