Reflection for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

by Thokozani Mkhonta

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One of the realities of life which is widely considered by many as unfortunate is the fact of not knowing one’s future. It is widely felt that as humans we are disadvantaged by the fact that we cannot entirely hold our future in our own hands. Failure is one of the most shattering experiences of life. We struggle to understand why must life be such that we must learn through failure that some things were not meant for us.

Yet, it remains an incontestable fact of life that what we do today significantly affects our future. We shape our future through our present actions. We are certain that God has put part of our future in our own on hands. This is a lesson we cannot afford to neglect. It is sad to realize the opportunities we failed to utilize in the past coming back to haunt us in the present. Much of the emotional burden we carry lies in the fact of knowing that some of the distressing experiences of our lives are a result of our own actions.

The Gospel today seems to be emphasizing the fact that we are supposed to grasp opportunities instantly. Opportunities do come our way, but we often fail to recognize them because they always tend to call us out of our comfort zones. The Gospel tells us that after John had been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Gospel of God saying: “the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God has come, repent and believe in the Gospel.”

This moment marked the beginning of the fulfilment of the time which the Israelites had been waiting for. They were waiting for the Christ who was going to usher in the kingdom of God, but the scriptures will reveal that the Christ constantly challenged them in many different ways to change. They were so unwilling to embrace the Gospel because it called them to shun their old ways and embrace the new law of love. They missed out on the opportunity of being part of the Kingdom of God because of their unwillingness to accept the challenges which Christ posed on them.

Only a few were able to respond to the invitation to be part of the kingdom of God. It is observable in the Gospel today that those who were able to respond to this invitation are those who were willing to instantly abandon everything for the sake of following Christ. The Gospel tells us that as Jesus was walking by the coast of the sea, he saw Simon and Andreas. They were fishing and Jesus called them to follow him. At once, they left their nets and followed him. As Jesus continued, he also saw James and John, he called them to follow him. At once, they left everything and followed him. They even left their father. In following Jesus, they secured themselves membership in the kingdom of God, they guaranteed themselves a future in heaven.

The life we are living is an opportunity to follow Christ and become partakers in the kingdom of God. Whilst some aspects of our future may not be entirely in our hands, our ultimate future, our eternity, depends on us. God has availed us the opportunity of discipleship, which ought to secure us heaven. May we be like the disciples whom we see in the Gospel today who at once abandoned everything and followed Jesus.