Third Sunday after the Epiphany 24 January 2021

The Gospel of Mark 1:14-20

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 good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he 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.

Let us Pray: Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Have you ever been asked to do something you really did not want to do? And it took several requests to get you to do it, that is how Jonah felt about telling the people that they had “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown! He hesitated because it was a long journey to get to Nineveh and it would take 3 days to get across the city. But he did it. The good news is that the people of Nineveh repented and changed, and God did not have to destroy the city. Now how did your request work out, If you did it were the results good and how did you feel about the outcome?  When Jesus called his first 5 disciples there really wasn’t any hesitation or needing to be asked a second time. The astonishing feature of the story is that they followed Jesus with no idea of where it would lead. These would be the persons who would continue Jesus’ work on earth after He left, just ordinary people, like you and me. They were called. As far as we know, every one of the disciples was chosen and called personally by Jesus. We believe that God calls each one of us. God not only calls us to follow Jesus, but also calls us into the fields and careers of our lives. God calls every single one of us, we just need to be receptive and hear. So when we get the call what will our response be? Will we tell Jesus that now is not a good time? Will we give Him all the reasons why we can’t pick up and follow Him? God’s call is always into an uncertain future. Just as when he called Jonah to spread the word and as he called the disciples to follow Him. When we answer that call, we are hoping that we can use the gifts and talents God has given us, but there are no guarantees.  So will we place our hope and trust in Jesus as these first disciples did? Will we eagerly follow Him?

Let us pray: Most Holy and Loving God, You call us to go where we do not want to go, to do what we do not want to do, to be who we do not want to be. Grant us willingness to accept our calling as faith-filled fishers of people that Jesus asks us to be. We ask through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who together with You, live and reign in the promise of eternal life, One God, now and forever.  Amen.

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