We have just finished the Christmas season during which we celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, Emmanuel, God among us. When we receive Jesus, we do not stay the same. His coming transforms us and gives us a new impulse of life, a new way of doing, of thinking, of considering our neighbor because we live with God among us. His birth frees us from the bondage of sin. This is God’s plan for us. God wants us free. He wants us happy and full of joy, the kind we manifested on the night of December 24, when we sang glory be to God in the Highest, joy manifested by angels and shepherds. Therefore, our life must change with the coming of Jesus. We must no longer remain the same with the presence of Christ among us.
In today’s gospel there are two attitudes we can adopt if we genuinely want to live daily with Christ and experience this change to which we are called by receiving Him. The first attitude is the call that Christ gives us saying ‘‘This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.’’ Repentance means to turn to the Lord with all our heart and change our mind to accomplish God’s Will. We cannot live in intimacy with Christ if we do not know how to change the way we do things, and if we do not turn completely to God. Therefore, we should change our mind from a heart attitude that confesses Christ only, and seek to honor Him in every aspect of life. This repentance must become our way of living, believing in the Gospel. Believing in the Gospel is more of a practice than a theory. It is through our way and style of life that we will truly testify that we are Christians and that we believe in the Good News. It is up to everyone to ask themselves if their life reflects the Christian life, if their lifestyle testifies that they honestly believe in the Gospel. What should I do to witness the Gospel?
The second attitude that today’s Gospel invites us to adopt is that of the disciples whom Christ calls, telling them to “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They left their nets and followed Jesus. It is from their workplace, from their daily life, that Jesus calls His disciples. The answer of these disciples is that they abandoned their daily life, some abandoned the nets, others left their father in the boat and immediately they followed Jesus. If we don’t change even by receiving Jesus from Christmas, it could be because of the love of worldly things. It is the love of worldly things that takes us away from the change that must take place in us by receiving Jesus. Sometimes, we ignore following Jesus because of some of our pleasures, our personal interests, lack of love for our neighbor, or exaggerated desire for power.
It is up to everyone to ask themselves what they should give up responding to Christ’s call, what they should leave to follow Christ. The nets of Simon and Andrew also represents something in the life of each of us. What is the net that I must give up? Following Christ would be the first concern of our daily life.
May the Lord help us to live according to the Gospel, and may He dispose our hearts to be ready and available to follow Him in our daily lives.
[Readings: Heb 1:1-6; Mk 1:14-20]