Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 1:1-18; Mark 1:14-20)
Many rabbis in ancient Israel had disciples. But none treated their disciples like Jesus did his. Other rabbis received students who came to them for instruction. Jesus went out to seek his disciples as today’s gospel shows. The duty of other rabbis was to teach their disciples the law. Jesus, however, has another purpose – to make his disciples fishers or gatherers of people. Other rabbis had their disciples serve them; Jesus, on the other hand, came “to serve, not to be served.”
Jesus’s ways are so distinctive because he comes to proclaim the arrival of God’s Kingdom. He knows that now is not the time to study God’s law; it is time to embrace the fulfillment of all that the law promises. It is the difference between preparing for a feast and sitting down at table. The people must be moved to give up prejudice toward other nations and hostility toward one another. They must be shown that God, the Father of all, calls all to solidarity.
It may seem to some that the moment of the Kingdom has passed, that we live in post-religious times when the best we can hope for is growing the world economy so that everyone will have access to the Internet. But this is not so. The Kingdom is still within our grasp because Jesus is not a mere human whose bones have long rotten. He is the resurrected Lord who always calls us to greater love.