The Gospel reading from the Mass for Sunday Cycle B for the 3rd Week of Ordinary Time is Mark 1:14-20.

Following the miraculous manifestation of the Trinity at Christ’s baptism and His grueling 40-day ordeal in the wilderness, Christ emerges from the wilderness and learns that John the Baptist has been arrested. Christ returns to the region of Galilee, first to His home-town of Nazareth and then relocates to the larger trading town of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.

Christ’s calling of the first Apostles is stunning for a number of reasons. Acting more as a King than a rabbi, Christ calls His men to Himself; traditionally, men would choose the rabbi they wished to follow. Rather than finding a following among the learned or well-connected, Christ calls ordinary working-class men, men with no formal education or connections to wealth or power. It is also striking that with only a simple call by Christ, all four of these Apostles (Peter, Andrew, James and John) immediately follow, leaving their livelihoods and possessions (their nets and boats); remarkably, James and John even leave their father Zebedee.

These four men are Christ’s first chosen, play a prominent part in Christ’s public ministry and go on to lead the Church after Christ’s Ascension. Simon is renamed Peter (Greek for “rock”), is part of Christ’s “inner circle”, is given authority over the Church and becomes the first pope after Christ’s Ascension. Andrew (Greek for “manly”) becomes the apostle to the Greeks. James (with brother John, is called by Christ, the “Sons of Thunder”) is also part of Christ’s “inner circle” and will be the first martyred. John, the youngest, is part of Christ’s “inner circle”, is given responsiblity to watch over Our Lady after Christ’s death and writes the Gospel of John and Revelation.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has an immediate life-changing impact on the Apostles. Son of Man, Christ has an undeniable charisma that appeals to men. Divine King, Christ selects, attracts and converts men to build His Church.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Reflect upon Christ’s mysterious power to pick men who appear to be unexceptional (lowly fisherman) but are inspired by Christ’s Grace to carry out exceptional acts of evangelization and martyrdom.

2) Christ’s first preaching is focused on commanding men to repent, to believe and to seek the kingdom; this call is a call to a complete conversion of heart.  Consider every man’s need for continual Conversion (CCC 1423,1427-1429) and pray for Christ to help you continually repent to more fully convert your heart for His Kingdom.

3) As Christ establishes His Church, His first act is to draw men to Himself to establish His Kingdom. Reflect on Christ’s Call to the Apostles  (CCC 541, 787) and pray for Christ to direct you as to how He wants you to help build His Kingdom.