WITH ST. MARY'S
THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Do not become discouraged by the call to repentance.
THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The role of the Prophets in the Old Testament was to go out among the people, the villages, the towns, and cities to preach a message of repentance. Often, this message was ignored, but at other times, the message was heeded and the people were spared from the consequences of their wickedness. The last of the prophets was John the Baptist, preparing the way for Christ, who himself was the ultimate Prophet through his threefold office of Priest, Prophet, and King. As Christians, we now occupy two roles: those being given the prophetic message of God, and those being sent out to proclaim the prophetic message of God. All of Scripture can be summarized in one message - Repent, and believe in the Gospel. On this Sunday of the Word of God we are being called to boldly live out the words of this message and to share it with everyone we can.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
In 2019, our Holy Father Pope Francis issued a motu proprio that declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time to be “devoted to the celebration, study, and dissemination of the Word of God.” These three approaches to Scripture are best achieved when we understand that the entirety of Scripture leads us to Christ, especially through this message: Repent, and believe in the Gospel. In this Sunday’s readings at Mass, we are reminded multiple times of this sentiment. In the first reading, we hear of Jonah, a reluctant prophet who desires more for the punishment of the wicked Ninevites rather than their repentance. But the Ninevites do repent, opening up the possibility for their own salvation through God. Notice that it was not the benevolence of Jonah, but of God, that spared the Ninevites; as messengers of the Gospel in the world today, we are tasked to share the message of Scripture and allow God to take care of the rest. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we are reminded as Christians that we are not just messengers of the message, but also recipients of this prophetic warning. Time is running out for us, too, and the present world as we know it is passing away. Therefore, we must repent of our own sin, especially since we are in an age and an environment in which we know the Truth of Christ. The message of Scripture culminates in the public ministry of Christ, which began at the hands of John the Baptist. John told those who listened: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” What we hear in today’s Gospel, though, is the action behind the message - Christ calling his followers, making them fishers of men.
We must remember and obey Pope Francis’ directive: we ought to celebrate the message of Scripture in addition to studying and disseminating it. We can easily look at the warnings of the Prophets with fear of God’s wrath, but we only do so if we are sinners. Instead, Christ offers us a joyful approach to repentance. He lovingly reaches out and calls us to be fishers of our fellow neighbors. Our messaging is amplified not by fear tactics or cruelty in language, but by exemplifying the joy and love that we have found in being obedient to the Word of God. If the message of the Prophets scares you, change your ways. Avoid sin, seek repentance, and fall back in love with God. If the message of Scripture changes you, share that with the world. Be your brother’s keeper, avoid hypocrisy, and exercise control and discipline in your own life. Many saints of the Church have claimed to receive messages from Christ or his mother, and often they are given the direction to read Scripture daily. Such a simple action has the power to change your life. You not only encounter God in Scripture; you are communicating with Him and He can speak to you.