We have gone through three consecutive Sundays of liturgical Ordinary Time reading the Gospel of Saint Mark. The first Sunday we heard how the Baptism of the Lord by Saint John the Baptist took place. The Second Sunday was dedicated, as you will remember, to the last days of the ministry of Saint John the Baptist. The Gospel of the Mass that we are celebrating today tells us how Jesus began to choose the group of faithful followers, the apostles, who would accompany him throughout his life on earth and who would form the nucleus of the Church that Our Lord founded.
The Gospel begins with a short account of the Lord's first preaching. Saint John the Baptist having been imprisoned by King Herod, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. It is there where he begins to preach to the people who were already following in his footsteps to be able to hear his words. He told them: “The time has passed. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! ”
And passing by the lake of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew, who were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. The first apostles called these two brothers. Later the Lord saw the brothers James and John, sons of Zebedee, and also called them to be part of this group. Although the Lord's call came in an unexpected way, we see the promptness with which these four men responded to Christ.
The first words of Jesus to these men, who, as I have said, already had knowledge of Him, were, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." To each one of us also every day the Lord says, “Follow me.” And He tells us even more. He asks us to do so with the promptness and generosity with which Simon Pedro, Andrés, Santiago and Juan did. He asks us to return by his side and we behave like his sons and daughters that we are. We are members of his family. And like all good parents, he only wants us to be happy. That is why he calls us, as he called the apostles, asking us to do so. Let's go on, that we return to his side and avoid all those things and people that could make us leave his side again. That is what conversion means. Every conversion is both a call and a response. Conversion means to leave the wrong path that we have taken, mistakenly or intentionally, and straighten our lives, following the Lord.
Why convert? Saint Paul tells us in the second reading: "Time is running out ... the appearance of this world is about to end." This world is not eternal; it is rather transitory and fleeting. God asks us that in the little time that we have left to live, we believe in his word, we convert, we be faithful to him and we remember that the Kingdom of God is near. For God to convert by word and not by heart and soul, it is not worth it. Soon time passes and we find ourselves face to face with Christ being judged for what we have done or have not done while living on earth. God knows that there are many who are estranged from Him. They adopt immoral behaviors and try to convince everyone that what they do does no harm to anyone and that therefore they are not guilty of anything and have no need of conversion. Perhaps the saddest thing about their behavior is that they try to convince everyone that everything they do is normal and invite other people to imitate them. Little by little, a new immoral morality is being invented in which anything goes and there are no repercussions or punishments for doing things that go against divine law.
Every day of our life, we should make a conscience decision to follow Christ fully. We should also pray for the people we know who hear the Word of God but do not follow Him, the ones who live their lives as if God meant nothing to them. We cannot be like them. We must show, by our way of life and our way of being that, like the apostles, we have heard the Lord's call and have decided to leave all our previous life behind us in order to follow him to the end.
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