달라스 성 김대건 성당
ST. ANDREW KIM CATHOLIC CHURCH
January 24, 2021
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr. Daegon Andrew Namgil Kim
It is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s readings and gospel clearly conveys that there is nothing important than returning to God and believing in Him, which can never be delayed. That is to say, to hear and follow the word of God right now is the most important thing above all.
The book of Jonah in the 1st reading today says about Jonah who proclaims conversion to the people of Nineveh according to the word of God. Nineveh now belongs to the territory of Iraq, and developed greatly at the time of Jonah. The size was said to be big enough to take 3 days to walk across the city.
Jonah proclaimed conversion in the center of the city. And surprisingly enough, the people in Nineveh took the way of conversion starting from the high-status people. Above all, the story of Jonah reveals how strong the word of God is. The word of God is said to be stronger than any other human power. It clearly delivers the fact that everything is useless before God, no matter how much humans develop.
The salvation and happiness of people depend on God and His words. One more striking message of the book of Jonah is that the word of God is not only transmitted to the Jews, but also conveyed to the gentiles. The word of God is transmitted to all who receive it without discrimination. And the word of God will transmit salvation to anyone who receives it. As we hear the story of Jonah and Nineveh,
we also need to renew our minds and our ways of thinking. That is, the fact that the salvation of God is open to anyone who can receive the word. The salvation of God is cannot be monopolized by us, and cannot be used as a tool of rejecting others who are different from us. We must not forget that God is always open to all who receive the way of conversion, regardless of differences in every aspect. The 2nd letter to the Corinthians today also prompts us to stand forward and prepare for the word of God right now.
The content of the 2nd reading has the background of basically the issue of marriage. Paul the Apostle explains the purpose and reason of marriage and the duty of spouses. He stresses the basic responsibility for marriage and its contribution for the salvation. He says that marriage has to be the way to freedom given by God in God, but not as a life of slavery.
Paul well understands the importance of marriage and also the difficulty of it. On top of this context, the reading continues: “the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, and those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.” In this way, Paul stresses that answering to the word of God is more important than marriage itself, which is important in the worldly life and in other necessary aspects of life.
We can lose our own life of salvation which is really important, while being entangled in life. No matter how hard we try, we cannot find our salvation and happiness which we seek, when we do not think that they are to be found only in God and in the word of God. We shall live in vain while seeking useless things. We need to ask for meaningful lives which is to seek God.
Then, happiness will come to be with us. Jesus calls and gathers disciples and wants them to catch people. Catching people means helping people and saving them. This work is not for our own survival. It is much more important than that. To Jesus’ call, the fishermen Peter, James, and John left their nets, which is very important to them, and even left their father and other hired men, in order to be with Jesus.
The work of saving people is beyond my own livelihood, blood ties, and relationships. Therefore, every one of us also needs to find our own way of salvation in our own life. We need to be courageous to choose God and the work of following the word of God which is more important than my livelihood, blood ties, and relationships. This is not really easy, of course. No one can easily do this. Jesus and the disciples are necessary and important advocates for us to be able to follow.
Nevertheless, we have to try to do whatever we can do at our own place. It is our conversion. As much as we repent, the kingdom of God will be with us, and our salvation will be close. "This is the time of fulfillment. ‘The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’ ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.” The beginning of salvation must start right at this point where the word of God is heard. We have to follow the word of God right now at this moment.
It is because if we cannot hear the word of God now, we will be unable to hear the word of God again. We need to open our hearts, and rise from our sins and wrong doings. We need to escape from wrong habits and bad lives. To follow the word of God is not simply abandoning our families, offering our riches, and gathering at an alienated place while seeking our own salvation, as any false religion states.
Following the word of God is repenting of our sins, and trying to practice the word of God against our greed and temptations. And, it is loving our neighbours truly. It is cooperating in building the truth and justice of God in the world. It is rebuilding the truth and holiness of God, and not spreading my own ideology and logics.
It is to let God be God and the true Lord. It is conversion and
saving of people. To help the world go according to the will of God is living
the life of conversion and following the word of God.