Sunday, January 24th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
Many Catholics today have embraced a culture and a mindset that Jesus never instructed his followers to adopt. Many of us want a comfortable Catholicism where every segment of our society will embrace and accept us. It is funny that from the early days of our country there had been those who opposed Catholicism because the United States in its early history was seen as a Protestant country.
Many European and Latin American immigrants to the United States were Catholic and found it very difficult to be able to express their faith. The Knights of Columbus as a Fraternal Organization was established Blessed Father Michael McGivney to provide the insurance needs of its members because insurance companies in the day discriminated against Catholics.
On this Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, the readings call us to be decisive in our faith. To be Jesus’ disciple is to be Christ-like and to be a missionary in all our endeavors. What did Jesus do that we are commanded to imitate? Jesus went about Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.
Simon, Andrew, James, and John demonstrate this decision to be Jesus’ disciple in their response to His calling, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In both instances, the men immediately abandoned their livelihood and followed Christ.
Imagine if Simon and Andrew looked at their Savior and said, “Thanks for the offer, but we will finish up fishing and meet you later.” That is no way a disciple should respond to Christ’s call. Yet, that is how we often respond to Jesus’ offer to us: “Come after me.” We can easily fall into the misconception that we have plenty of time to live active missionary discipleship later. But as faithful missionary disciples, we must change our ways and immediately follow Jesus more intentionally, because Christ is calling us to act now.
These men became members of Jesus’ twelve apostles. They surrendered their entire lives to follow Christ. We, too, are called to surrender our lives to the Lord so that He may work through us. We might think, “God isn’t calling me.” But indeed, that is an error in thinking because He most certainly is! Just as He called four ordinary fishermen, He is calling each one of us. Renewing and reevaluating what God might be asking of us throughout our lives is a key component of our discipleship journey.
As we progress throughout this year, let us ponder the ways we can renew our commitment to God and ask ourselves: what are we casting our nets for? And are we willing to leave it behind for something much greater? And if not now, when?
Saint Joachim Parish has a discipleship learning experience called “ALPHA, Catholic Context” and many of our parishioners have had the joy of experiencing this ten-week series. There will be a new semester of Alpha beginning February 2
and running through April 6
. The sessions are from 7:00 PM until 8:15 PM. Alpha is a convenient experience and is FREE. For more information contact Kathy Gonzales at
. To register online please go to