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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflection for January 21

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

January 21, 2018 — Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 1:14-20
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

In today’s Gospel, four fishermen left everything to follow Jesus. They had been making a good living. They had boats, nets, and whatever was needed to fish commercially. But Jesus was more important to them, so they left it behind.

The Gospel challenges us. Are we willing to follow Jesus? This doesn’t mean we must abandon home and family. We have responsibilities, and Jesus doesn’t want us to walk away from them. But he does want us to sort things out, to put God first, others second, and ourselves third.

Saint John Paul II once said in a speech to youth that we must turn a deaf ear to the self‑centered mantras pronounced by today’s intellectual elites. In attempting to figure out the point of life, we should learn the joy of finding ourselves by giving ourselves away, first to God, then to others. We should view our relationships as opportunities for service rather than for selfish concerns. We must not be afraid of commitment and sacrifice, which today require a great investment of energy, but guarantee success tomorrow, success judged not in reference to paychecks or material goods, but to a Christlike life.

We should ask: Is Jesus really first in my life? When I think about buying something, whether a car or house or new cell phone, is it just for myself or for others? When I’m watching a TV show, would I want to change the channel if Jesus knocked at the door? Do I try to think, speak, and act like Jesus?

In today’s Gospel Jesus invites each of us to follow him. If we do, if we give him the first place, we won’t be sorry. In forty-nine years as a priest, I’ve never heard anyone express regret for following Jesus. Today, four fishermen, Peter and Andrew, James and John, tell us from heaven that they’ve never regretted the day they left all to follow Jesus. And Mary, our Mother, says to us as she must have said to them, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.”

Read last week's reflection.