Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

A little joke from Anonymous:

A man went fishing up on the Connecticut Lakes, which is well known for its fishing.  As he was returning to his vehicle with two full pails of fish, he meets the game warden who asks him,

Do you have a license to catch those fish?

The man responds to the game warden,

No sir.  These are my pet fish.

the warden replied.

Pet fish?!

Yes sir. Every night I take these here fish down to the lake and let them swim around for a while. I whistle and they jump back into their buckets, and I take em home. 

The warden replied in disbelief,

That’s a bunch of baloney! Fish can’t do that! 

The man looked at the game warden for a moment and then said,

Here, I’ll show you. It really works.”

Okay, I’ve got to see this!

The game warden was curious.  The man poured the fish into the river and stood and waited…

After several minutes, the game warden turned to the man and said,


The man responded,

Well, what?

When are you going to call them back? 

the game warden prompted. 

Call who back?

Said the man.


said the game warden.

What fish?

the man asked.

When we hear in the Gospel of Mark, the call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John from Jesus to be his disciples we are marveled at their response. Their response was immediate and without condition. They were all fishermen, good at their trade, to the point of having a family business. When Jesus called them to follow, they didn’t delay, they didn’t place conditions on Jesus, they didn’t bargain out a contract with benefits and a pay raise scale.  Jesus states:

I will make you fishers of souls!

They left all they knew behind and simply followed Jesus!

In the Book of Jonah, we hear that God asks Jonah to go to the people of Nineveh and ask them to repent of their evil doing. Jonah already despises the people of Nineveh and wants them to perish. Jonah goes forward, knowing in his heart that the people of Nineveh will not only reject him, but also God’s request. However, just the opposite is true! After only doing a third of his journey through the city, the people of Nineveh and their king repent! God is pleased, and Jonah has been changed forever.

Our two readings have something in common: 

The power of God’s Word! God calls people into action, in a different direction from where they found themselves. God speaks, people respond!

Jesus’ presence in front of the four fishermen, had to have a magnetic effect on them. In a moment’s notice, nothing else seemed to make sense to them, they simply felt compelled to follow.

Can you imagine if God came to you one day and asked you to go to Las Vegas, and walk down the Vegas Strip announcing the end of the world?  Repent! Repent! For the world is ending!!

Don’t worry, I’ll promise to come visit you!

Psalm 25 states:

The future looks bright for those who turn their lives around and follow him.  He will teach God’s ways, and make God’s paths known; the ways of truth, the paths of compassion and love.

Jesus knew that his mission wasn’t to be accomplished by himself. He wasn’t that type of king. As he called is first disciples to become apostles, so he calls each of us by our Baptism. Each of us is called to a change of heart by our Baptism.  e need to renew that call today, and then renew it every day to come.

Pope Benedict XVI added an option for the Dismissal Rite of the Mass, that states:

Go, and proclaim the Gospel with your lives.

There is an impossible Nineveh out there for us to transform. With God’s grace, we can do the impossible. We can change our Nineveh into the kingdom of God.

Readings for Sunday, January 24, 2021