I share with you a reflection from the Gospel reading for today, Mark 1:14-20.
Jesus called the first disciples, but there had to be a response to that call. When the Lord called Peter and Andrew he invited them to fish for people. The invitation was, therefore, to expand their horizons and to do more. Yet, like Mary’s invitation to be the mother of God could not have been fully appreciated at the time of Gabriel’s visit, so, too, the ramifications of the first disciples’ response could not have been known. Yet, Mark tells us that in all four cases, these men immediately left everything and followed in the footsteps of Jesus. Somehow these men sensed in Jesus a call to remove themselves from the darkness of ignorance, error, and sin, and seek the light. However, this was only one part of their call. Not only were they to seek the light, but they were also called to radiate that same light to others. We are all inheritors of the efforts of these disciples.
As we were given the light, so must we transform our lives, believe in the good news, and share the light with others. Christianity requires us to respond to God’s call and bring the light to others. First, we must fully adopt the light in our own lives. We need to cast out the manifestations of darkness that at times pervade our lives. We prefer the dark because it is cozy and we do not have to do anything. But Jesus did not come to make us comfortable; he came to rouse us to action.
Bringing the light, as we heard in today’s Gospel Reading, means a radical call to discipleship. From the day of our baptism, whether we understood the reality or not, we have been called in a formal way to be active followers of Jesus. We cannot sit on our hands and hope that others will do our work. Sharing the light of Christ with others is a full-time occupation, but too often we do not see this as our role. Christianity becomes for many a task we engage in when it is convenient, when extra time arises in our busy day, or we feel a sense of guilt that, “we have become slack” in the exercise of the corporal works of mercy. We must remember, however, according to 2 Timothy Chapter 4:Verses 1c-2, “I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching”.
Jesus, the light, has come, as we have just celebrated the Christmas season. But while the message has been proclaimed, the Lord’s work has not been completed. Thus we, the baptized, the contemporary disciples who answer the call, must as those who first answered Jesus’ call, do our share. We must complete the Master’s work. We cannot run away from this very fundamental call of discipleship. The most basic call of the Christian life is to be holy people, but this can never be true unless we manifest that holiness through active discipleship.