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The Preaching of the Kingdom of God

In Ordinary Time, we hear “the preaching of the kingdom of God” through all the lectionary readings.  Today, we find a dramatization of what that means for some of us.

Gospel (Read Mk 1:14-20)

In last Sunday’s Gospel, we reflected on Jesus’ first meeting with Andrew, John, and Simon Peter.  These men were very interested in the new Rabbi whom John the Baptist, their teacher, had called “the Lamb of God.”  Today’s reading describes how they, along with John’s brother, James, moved from being interested in Jesus to becoming His intimate companions and co-workers.  How did this happen?

We see that our episode takes place “after John had been arrested.”  John’s public ministry had come to an end.  His arrest, as well as the appearance of the One for whom John had prepared them, certainly must have deeply stirred his disciples.  They had a lot to think about.  They returned to their livelihood—fishing.  Perhaps quiet times on the water gave them opportunities to mull over all that was happening.  Into this setting steps Jesus, preaching in Galilee as the Baptist had once done at the Jordan River:  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”  Such a startling message!  Words like these could only mean one thing in Israel:  the long wait for the Messiah had finally ended.  Something new was about to begin.

Jesus passed by Simon and Andrew as they were casting their nets into the sea.  He recognized them, of course, and called out over the water: “Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  What a strange invitation to men who caught fish for a living.  Why would fishermen want to catch men instead?  We can assume that these dramatic words to the men in the boat, coming at a time when their heads must have been full of all the hope and expectation they had received as the Baptist’s disciples, were simply irresistible to them.  The invitation answered a desire that was likely already forming in them.  Recall that when Andrew first met Jesus, his immediate impulse was to go get his brother and bring him to “the Messiah.”  Andrew already gave evidence of wanting to be a “fisher of men.”  The Good News about Jesus was meant to be shared.

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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