HOMILY: 3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
My dear friends in Christ, our liturgy today presents us with some sort of urgency demanded of our response to the call to repentance and discipleship. Jonah says “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4) St. Paul says “… the appointed time has grown very short” (1Cor. 7:29) And Jesus capped it up saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk. 1:15)
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All of us, no matter how long we have been living in the faith, need to reawaken our attitude of trust. We need conversion, no, less than the people of Nineveh. Repent, and believe in the Gospel, is what Jesus is saying today, to each one of us here. But while we may still be wondering and probably asking, “How are we to respond to this call to repentance and discipleship?” St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians set the template before us: “from now on, let those who have wives live 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 goods, and those who deal with the world, as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.” (1Corinthians 7:29-31)
How realistic is Paul’s advice, to live as though the ordinary events and concerns of daily life do not matter? As if business, planning, bereavements, possessions and the rest are of no fundamental significance and importance? Well, it is best to make it clear first of all that Paul does not mean that we should withdraw from all these things, or neglect the practical life. What he does mean is that we should get our priorities right, and get a proper and balanced view of reality, with our view on our eternal destiny and how we stand in the sight of God. For Paul did not forget to mention that “The form of this world is passing away.” If this world is passing away, it would be absolutely wise to put our focus on the world that its form endures to eternity. For where our treasure is, there would our heart be. (Cf. Matt. 6:21; Lk. 12:34)
In the Gospel, Jesus presents an urgent message and calls his Apostles to share in spreading the news: “This is the time of fulfilment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Beloved in Christ we should never be afraid of responding to the call of Christ. The call to conversion is continuous and our response to this call is equally a daily, life-long response. This is exactly what we could observe in the call of the two brothers, Simon and Andrew. If we remember, last week, John pointed out Jesus as the lamb of God (John 1:35) to two of his own disciples, one of whom was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter and Andrew followed Jesus immediately, passed the night with him and brought Simon, his brother to Jesus the following day. But what do we have in today’s Gospel passage? These brothers were back to their fishing. But when Jesus came calling again, “… immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:18) This is the kind of attitude that is expected of us each time we hear the call to conversion discipleship. Everyday is an opportunity for us to repent. Today for instance is the right time for repentance.
Beloved in Christ, the call that Jesus addressed to those brothers fishermen is equally addressed to each one of us. In our own case, it would not mean to leave our jobs or businesses, if we are fortunate to have one, but to start making changes to whatever is displeasing to God in our lives. It would mean looking afresh at the way we do things. Jesus says today “repent and believe the Gospel.” For the truth is that if we begin to change our lives as individuals, we would have begun to change the world around us, becoming ourselves, fishers of men.
Let us pray. Lord I thank you for this day. Help me to be the best version of myself in this new week and always. So that becoming the best of myself others may be drawn to you. Amen.
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