From the Associate Pastor
In the Gospel of this Sunday, January 24, 2021, Saint Mark the Evangelist introduces us to the beginning of Jesus’ public life; that is to say, his public ministry. Jesus begins his vocation and ministry with two exhortations: conversion, believe in his Gospel and follow him.
After John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee to preach the Gospel of God and said: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel ”(Mark 1: 14-15). What does it mean to repent? To convert? It means changing one’s mentality, vocabulary, behavior, ideologies, philosophies and psychologies to believe and accept the Gospel that Jesus preaches to us this Sunday.
Obviously it is a completely different Gospel than what the world today offers us. Jesus exhorts us to a Kingdom of peace and justice; to a Kingdom of love and understanding; to a Kingdom of solidarity and communion with the most vulnerable, unprotected and helpless. The Kingdom of God also exhorts us to practice what we teach and preach! Jesus invites us to be different and authentic followers of His path. To follow him not only in beautiful and wonderful moments, but also in dark, confusing and insecure moments, because with Him everything is possible. “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Philippians 4:13).
Jesus not only exhorts us to repent and believe in the Gospel, but also to follow it. When Jesus begins his public ministry, he realizes that the harvest is abundant and the workers few; that is why he calls his first four disciples. Jesus was walking along the shore of the Lake of Galilee when he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting their nets into the lake, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets like James and John, sons of Zebedee, and followed him (Mark 1, 16-20).
How many of us are willing to drop everything and follow Jesus? How many of us put all of our faith and trust in Jesus amid so much confusion and uncertainty with the pandemic? How many of us are willing to make a change in our lives and believe in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?
With affection, your servant,
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Fr. Alberto Villafan, OFM