Sunday, January 18, 2015

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year B

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


What are your ambitions?

Points to note

Remember the life cards that we used to have in school, which charted our growth as children throughout our school years and which the teachers have to call us one by one to fill them up once a year.  There is a question there about what our ambitions were when we grow up.  This is always a good game for the children and it should prove to be fun to talk about it.




Acclamation before the Gospel

Alleluia!  Alleluia!
The kingdom of God is close at hand;
Believe the Good News.

Explain that Jesus has just been baptised by John the Baptist, who was arrested by King Herod and Jesus is just about to begin his public ministry around the Galilee area, his home region.

The Lord be with you.
All:   And also with your spirit.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Mark
All:   Glory to you O Lord

(Mk 1: 14-20)
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee.  There he proclaimed the Good News from God.  “The time has come,” he said, “and the kingdom of God is close at hand.  Repent and believe in the Good News.”

As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.”  And at once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets.  He called them at once and leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord


What is your ambition?  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Most children should have one and give each child a chance to describe his or her ambition and why.

Pull the stated ambitions together and see that the main ones have attributes in common:  respect, success, comfortable work and life, etc.  Discuss if these are important.

What if you were told that your job will involve
  • Long hours – you could be on call at all hours and you have to work Sundays and over Christmas as well
  • Little pay – basically you only get some pocket money every month
  • You will not be allowed to own anything – no house (well, you get a little room to sleep in), no nice car (there is a cheap one to use if needed), no fancy restaurants (unless someone invites you), no nice clothes allowed
  • You will not be allowed to marry and raise a family or even have a boyfriend/girlfriend for the rest of your life.

Well, these are what the priests, brothers and sisters get when they agree to become priests, brothers and sisters.  Discuss what types of people would agree to turn their backs to respect, success and comfortable life that everyone else aspires to.  Would the children be such people?  Would it be important for there to be priests, brothers and sisters?

In the story of the calling of the disciples, they had even less to go on.  Potential priests, brothers and sisters are quite clear what they are getting themselves into.  All the disciples have is a stranger asking them to follow him and to leave their familiar and comfortable life behind for a life of hardship, uncertainty and death.

Discuss what Jesus means when he asked them to be fishers of men.  Note that the leading disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John, were fishermen.  That is why St Peter is the patron saint of fishermen.  To this day, the Portuguese fishing village in Melaka celebrates the feast of St Peter is a big way every year.  Sometimes, the Pope is also referred to as a fisherman as the first Pope was a fisherman.  Becoming a Pope is sometimes described as ‘stepping into the shoes of the fisherman’.  The Pope wears a ring with a picture of a fisherman on it.  Do you know that when the Pope dies, his ring is broken to avoid fraud, as in times past, it was his personal seal?  A new one is made for the new Pope.

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