The 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24 January 2021
Lectionary Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 Cor 7:29-31 Mk 1:14-20
Theme: Come and follow me, repenting, and be my disciple.

The gospel of today presents us with invitations to follow the Lord Jesus. I will name three invitations. The first is an invitation to repentance for all of us who love Jesus’ name. The second is a personal invitation to be a disciple, faithful to Jesus. The third is an invitation to believe in the Good News, to believe in the Kingdom of God, and to believe in Jesus.

Mark first set forth the call to repentance to all of us: “This is a time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Good News” (Mk 1:15) This is one of the formulas, for receiving the Ash, as a sign of repentance on Ash Wednesday: “Repent and believe in the Gospel”, or “Repent and believe in the Good News”. Conversion, a Christian value, entailing time, and again averting oneself from evil in all its forms and converting oneself to even more perfect love for God, is a lifetime job that requires perseverance.

John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus with his mission of addressing the Jews, calling for repentance; to be baptized; and produce appropriate fruits of repentance. Repentance in Judaism means “return” (Teshuvah) and is one element of atoning for sin. Judaism recognizes that everybody sins, but people can stop, minimize or return to God by repenting for past transgressions “Thus, the primary purpose of repentance in Judaism is ethical self-transformation” (Wikipedia).

The response of Psalm 80 that was used on the First Sunday of Advent Year B supports the theme of Repentance. The response was, “Lord, make us turn to you; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved”. Psalm 80 has twenty verses and the theme is repeated in verses 1, 4, 8, 15, and verse 20. Lord with your grace make us turn to you, restore us. Lord, let us see your face, let your face shine on us. Lord, you look down from heaven to us your people. The second part of the response requests that the Lord make us turn to him so that his face will shine on us and thus we shall have the fulness of life, life eternal.

Turning to the Lord, I have to change my way of thinking, my attitude, disposition, and life choices to be Christ-centered, against selfishness and greed. The name that I claimed to LOVE, is the name of Jesus, and he will be the king of my heart. There will be challenges diverting us from the path of repentance, but the gift of God, the grace of Jesus will help us turn to the Lord and turn away from everything that would keep us from his love and truth.
“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Help me to believe in your word and follow you faithfully. Fill me with the joy of the gospel that your light may shine through me to many others”. (Daily Scripture)

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. How does the invitation to repentance sit with me, as one of my resolutions for the beginning of this New Year, 2021?  2. Looking back on 2020, how have I lived as a faithful disciple of the Lord?  3. Do I believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

Bibliography:  John C. Kersten Sunday Missal (New Jersey 2011). Wikipedia. Daily Scripture.

This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Aliki A Langi, Tonga, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2005, 2018


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