THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. CYCLE B – JANUARY 2018
Ø Jesus begins his ministry of proclaiming the good news.
Ø He keeps calling collaborators to help him in his mission.
THE BOOK OF JONAH
Ø The book of Jonah is found among the prophetic books, although he is not a real prophet.
Ø This book was written to counteract the nationalism of Ezra and Nehemiah, who promoted hate toward the foreigner, to everyone not belonging to the “holy and chosen” people.
Ø In the past this book was considered by some a historical one, while others thought it was an allegory. The idea of that book being historical has been discarded because it has some details difficult to reconcile to real life.
Ø Nowadays most of the commentators consider this book like a parable, a book belonging to the wisdom literature
Ø The time of this story is after the return from the Babylonian exile, during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, between the V and II centuries BC. During the time in which the book of the Ecclesiasticus had been written.
Ø The message of this book is a reaction against the belief found and promoted in Israel that salvation was only for the chosen people. Also against the idea that God was a judging and vengeful God. This is an offense against God who is love and compassion.
Ø The choosing of Nineveh is not without purpose; Nineveh was a sinful and cruel city, incarnation or representation of all that is bad, the city ruled by cruel kings.
Ø The book of Jonah wants to offer us the following possibilities:
o The oppressor is able to change his life.
o To accept that God is merciful toward all, even toward their oppressors.
o The message is more difficult when we realize that Jonah is sent to Nineveh, not to have the city convert to the religion of Israel, but it is a call to conversion within their own religion.
Ø The book has two parts, the two calls that God makes to Jonah:
o First call cc,1-2 (Jonah does not want to do what God asks him, he flees )
o Second call cc. 3-4 (Jonah does what the Lord asks him to do)
Ø This book is a work of art of the Hebrew literature.
FIRST READING – Jonah 3: 1-5.10
v The Lord comes to Jonah a second time, Jonah has already learned that when the Lord calls we need to respond to him.
v He receives a mission, something to do for a city, the city of Nineveh.
v It is a sinful and corrupt city, and also quite large.
v Jonah makes the decision to do what the Lord is asking.
v And he proclaims the message as he has understood it, probably he has translated the word in his own way to understand God “if you sin you will be destroyed.”
v Jonah is completely sure that the people of Nineveh will not listen to the message, and will follow their own mistaken ways.
v But the reality will surprise Jonah, all the inhabitants of Nineveh, rich and poor, powerful and humble old and young repent and do penance.
v How often we are like Jonah when we think that persons and communities cannot change, and the Lord always surprises us allowing us to experience something different.
v And the city is not destroyed as Jonah had announced.
v The way the author of this book portrays God is very interesting: God sees, God repents, changes, and acts differently.
v We are all witnesses in our own life of this behavior of God
v Maybe we do not have a theological explanation for this, but in many places of the Scriptures the authors describe God negotiating, changing, let us remember the conversation of Abraham over the sinful cities, “and if only 10?... only 5?...”
RESPONSORIAL PSALM : Sal 25:4-5. 6-7. 8-9
Psalm 25 is a psalm of supplication and trust.
It has 3 parts:
o Invocation and petition vv. 1-7
o reflection vv. 8-15
o petition vv. 16-22
This psalm has a concentric structure: the first part and the third one have the same themes and vocabulary.
In this Sunday’s liturgy the responsorial psalm is taken from the first and second parts.
o Petition to the Lord that he may have compassion and do not remember our sins.
o The last stanza tells us who God is and how God acts.
TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, O LORD
Your ways o Lord make known to me
Teach me your paths
Guide me in your truth and teach me
For you are God my savior.
Remember that you compassion O Lord
And your love are from of old
In your kindness remember me
Because of your goodness O Lord
Good and upright is the Lord
Thus he shows sinners the way
He guides the humble to justice
And teaches the humble his way.
GOSPEL Mk 1:14-20
ü Mark continues to describe Jesus’ activity.
ü We find two interesting things in this passage:
o John is arrested and Jesus goes back to Galilee.
o Why? Because he is in danger, and his hour has not come yet?
o Or, maybe he is doing what he said, if they persecute you in one place, go to another, and continue to proclaim the good news?
o Whatever it might be Jesus is now in Galilee.
o In the way Mark describes Jesus’ activity we perceive the urgency of the proclamation.
ü What does he proclaim?
o This is the time of fulfillment
o The kingdom of God is at hand
o Repent and believe in the Gospel
ü What time is this? Will it be the time in which Israel, and the whole human race, even without knowing it, have been waiting for the redeemer, someone sent by God to heal us?
ü What is this kingdom? Looking at how Jesus acts, we see that it is a kingdom in which God is compassionate, merciful, patient, who waits for, and wants the conversion of the lost.
ü Repent, convert? Change your ways, instead of turning your back to God, walk toward him, look at your Father’s face, He is always waiting for you.
ü At the same time that he announces, he keeps calling, inviting other young men to follow him… I will make of you fishers of human beings.
ü These men, rough and used to difficult work, know how difficult the trade of fishing is, and Jesus is telling them that they will be fishers of human beings.
ü How would Jesus look at them? How would his words be in order that they followed him with such readiness?
ü The Gospel gives us only a synthesis of the whole process of leaving everything behind and following Jesus. I am inclined to think that they had a conversation with their closest relatives, those that lived in the same house with them, and told them their decision.
ü They leave behind all that has been their life up to now, to begin the adventure of following that rabbi who has seduced them with his words, and with his look but most of all with his love. From him they will learn how to love.
ü Have we experienced in our life his look over us, his Word calling us in the depth of our being to cooperate and receive a mission from him?
SECOND READING 1Cor 7:29-31
« This is a difficult text for us to understand properly.
« Is Paul saying that the realities of our present life do not have any value? … as not weeping, as not …
« If the New Testament is the proclamation of salvation, of fulfillment, of joy, Paul cannot say to us that the other human beings are not important.
« If I believe that the good things that I have come from God, how is it possible not to fully enjoy them?
« What is Paul telling us? Maybe he is telling us that there is something which is absolute, rather someone who is absolute, and everything else is valuable in relation to him.
« From his words we understand that he gives for granted that we weep, rejoice, buy, use the realities of this passing world, of the present time, but his advice is, always look at the Kingdom that will come after this temporal reality.
« I believe that we will be able to enjoy what the Lord has prepared for us in heaven; in the measure we have been able to enjoy what he has given us in this present life.
« Why? It is the same God who gives to us the present things and promises the future, those of the Kingdom.
ON JANUARY 17 WE HAVE CELEBRATED THE 133 ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE VENERABLE MARIA ANTONIA PARIS FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS OF MARY IMMACULATE CLARETIAN MISSIONARY SISTERS.