Hebrews 1:1-6; Psalm 96(97):1-2,6-7,9; Mark 1:14-20
After the joy of Christmas, ending at the Epiphany and followed by the Baptism of the Lord, we today return to the rhythm of ordinary time. "Little Christmas" however continues right up to candlemas, and it is entirely legitimate to keep your crib at home, reminding us of how Our Lord came to be born on earth, a human like us, who created us in his own image.
Although this is ordinary time, nothing is very ordinary about Jesus. John the Baptist has been arrested, and Jesus begins his ministry on earth, starting in Galilee. This astonishing person must have had a huge presence, because as soon as he calls Simon Peter, and Andrew, fishermen at work on the coast of Galilee, they respond immediately, leaving everything and following Jesus. James and John, sons of Zebedee, likewise immediately respond to Jesus' call. The Gospels are not consistent on details - for example John records Andrew and another unnamed disciple joining Jesus in the Jordan valley. The message we should hear is that Jesus wanted a to build a church of believers, and over the early time of his ministry, travelling around, he called many from various places and calls in life. The river Jordan often symbolises freedom from oppression in the old testament, and perhaps John the Evangelist was wishing to make the point that Jesus was bringing freedom to the Jews. Galilee was an important centre for the Jews as it had a fertile plain and good communications. Isaiah had prophesied that Galilee would see a great light - Mark would have been keen to promote Jesus as the long looked for Messiah to the Jews.
Whatever our background, todays gospel should ask to to consider - when Jesus calls us, in small and large ways - do we respond immediately?