Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Jonah 3:1-5,10; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20)
Hearing and Responding to God’s Call to Be His Disciples
“They left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18).
In his unending creativity, God calls us to know him and to serve him in a way that is unique to each of us. In today’s first reading, we see Jonah, a fearful prophet, first resisting God’s call but then giving in—resulting in the conversion of the entire city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:10). And in today’s Gospel, we see Jesus calling his disciples to set out on an adventure that challenged all their assumptions. They too resisted at times, but eventually became impassioned preachers of the gospel (Mark 1:16-20).
In both instances, the almighty Creator reached down and called finite, fallen people to follow him— and it touched them to the depths of their hearts. We shouldn’t be surprised at this. In fact, we should expect God’s intervention to cause some sort of disturbance. Jonah was challenged to move beyond what he thought were his capabilities. The disciples also struggled for a long time to understand Jesus and his calling. Yet in both situations, God formed them into true servants.
Our Father wants each of us to be witnesses to his gospel and servants of his kingdom. No matter how well-educated or how dedicated we may be, God’s call will inspire us to go further. It may not be as dramatic as it was for the disciples or for Jonah. It may occur over the course of many months, or even years. But it will happen. One by one, our thoughts will be challenged. One by one, our ideas will change to match Jesus’ ideas.
This process of transformation may not always be enjoyable, but it will be fruitful! If we try our best to be faithful in the little things God asks of us each day, we will be changed over time. God will form us into disciples capable of making a difference in the world, just as the apostles and prophets did. All he’s looking for are humble, open hearts.
“Thank you, Jesus, for calling me to be your disciple. With joy, and knowing my life will never be the same, I take up your call. I trust that you will be with me.”
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, when the people of Nineveh heard Jonah’s warning of God’s impending judgment on their city, they believed the words and repented of their sins. Why do you think the Ninevites believed Jonah’s message? (Hint: “The word of the Lord came to Jonah” (Jonah 3:1))
- In the responsorial psalm, we ask the Lord to teach us his ways and guide us. How important is it to you to have a specific time each day when you pray and try to “listen” to the Lord? What are some of the obstacles to this in your life? How important is it to turn to the Lord during the day and ask him to guide you? What are some of the obstacles to this in your life?
- St. Paul’s words in the second reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31) may seem harsh and impractical to us today. What message do you believe Paul was trying to convey in these words? In what ways can we apply the principle put forth in his message to our lives today and to the current times?
- In the Gospel reading, Jesus, like Jonah, preached a message of repentance. Unlike the people of Nineveh, many people rejected his message. Jesus pointed to this fact as well in Matthew 12:41: “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” Why do you think people would reject Jesus’ message of repentance, but not Jonah’s?
- What did Jesus mean, in the Gospel reading, when he said to his disciples, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:16)? In what ways do you believe that Jesus has called you to be his witness and be fishers of men and women? What are some obstacles that keep you from answering this call of evangelization?
- The meditation begins with these words: “In his unending creativity, God calls us to know him and to serve him in a way that is unique to each of us.” How would you describe this “unique” call of God for your life?
- Take some time now to pray that God would give you the grace to say yes more fully to Jesus’ call to be his disciple and to be fishers of men and women. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.