Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(Hebrews 1:1-6; Mark 1:14-20)
Today’s gospel makes an interesting study of comparison and contrast with next Sunday’s. It gives the account of Jesus’ call of his first disciples in the Gospel of Mark. Sunday’s gospel will proclaim the story of the call in the Gospel according to John.
In Mark, John the Baptist has been arrested when Jesus goes to Galilee to proclaim the Good News. Finding Peter and Andrew fishing, he calls them to follow him. In John, the Baptist himself tells his disciple Andrew that Jesus is the “lamb of God.” In both Mark and John Jesus takes the initiative by inviting his future disciples to “come.” Again, in both cases again the men assuming the role of disciples explicitly “follow” Jesus. Finally, in Mark Jesus tells Peter and Andrew that they will be fishers of men while in John, Andrew goes out fishing for his brother Simon to become Jesus’ follower.
Many begin to doubt the truth claim of the gospels when they hear of inconsistencies like the ones mentioned above. But when we think about it, don’t the inconsistencies while still delivering the same basic message support their being true? The evangelists Mark and John wrote at least one and perhaps two generations after Jesus died. There is no sure evidence that they knew one another or that one knew of the other’s writing. Both received Jesus’ story largely by word of mouth as it was preached first by the Twelve and then by other apostles. Naturally some deviation occurred. But the similarities are so strong that we can say with confidence that, yes, Jesus did call his disciples and, yes, they did “follow” or learn from him.