3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2018

3B18.   Jonah 3:1-5, 10.  The Lord sent Jonah to Nineveh to call the inhabitants, who were pagan enemies of the Jewish people, to repent for their sins.  “They proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.”  Seeing their repentance, God “repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them.”  Last Sunday God with all his authority (“you are not your own”), entered into our world.  This Sunday in all his authority he calls all the world to repentance, to turn from ungodly ways to godly ways.

Mark 1:14-20.  John the Baptist has been arrested by Herod, leaving the center stage open to the one is greater than he.  Jesus proclaims, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent; and believe in the gospel.” Jesus brings the presence of his kingdom into this world (cf. John 18:36-37).  The Scriptures that foretold of the coming of the Messiah are now to be fulfilled.  Jesus is commanding us to turn away from believing in anything but the gospel or good news that he brings us.  Jesus replaces the old Israel with its twelve tribes by now beginning to select his twelve Apostles.  Although they abandoned their nets now to become “fishers of men,” later they are pictured as plying their trade because they still needed to work for food.  Jesus in this gospel twice uses the expression that they “followed him.”  The kingdom of God came to them through the presence of Jesus himself, his words and his actions.  The person of God is at the very center of our faith.  God uses the institution of the Church, the people of God, the Church’s teachings, liturgy, sacraments, the Scriptures and many other ways to make himself and his divine life present to us.  It is really God Himself who is with us as the essence of revelation.  Our religion is centered in God and everything else is a help to have God as the very center of our lives.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31.  “I tell you brothers and sister, the time is running out.” And at the end of this reading it says: “For this world in its present form is passing away.”  The message is clearly not to live ingrained in the way things are in the ordinary world of today but to realize that as time goes on everything is going to change according to the designs of God and not the powers of this world.  Loosen your grip on things so to let God take hold instead of you holding on.