After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
How about a real “fish story” from today’s Sunday Scriptures?
A fish story is usually an outlandish, exaggerated tale. Our first reading fits the bill—part of the story of Jonah. Besides featuring a pretty big fish, it tells a rather fantastic account of the instantaneous conversion of the ancient pagan city of Nineveh!
Scripture scholars see the story as a kind of folk tale—short on history but long on spiritual truth: God calls each of us—even if we’re reluctant prophets, like Jonah. He resisted God’s invitation to preach to the Ninevites, and wasn’t all that happy with the outcome. Perhaps he would have enjoyed a dose of fire and brimstone rather than the mercy God shows the repentant Ninevites.
The story of Jesus calling the fishermen in today’s Gospel is no tall tale. Unlike Jonah, Simon and Andrew, James and John respond instantly and willingly leave all to follow Jesus.
These readings make me think of my own “vocation story.” How did God call me? How have I responded? I know I haven’t always been immediate, willing, or whole-hearted in my response. Luckily, God seems to keep on calling, continuing to invite me to my own personal conversion. God always offers me yet another opportunity for a change of heart. And that’s no fish story!
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Jonah 3:1-5, 10), what does God tell Jonah to do?
Did Jonah go to Nineveh? What did he do when he was first told to go there?
How did the people of Nineveh respond to Jonah’s warning?
In this week's second reading (1 Cor 7:29-31), what does Paul say to the Corinthians in this part of his letter?
According to the Gospel, what did Jesus preach after John the Baptizer was arrested?
Whom did Jesus first call when he was passing along the shore of the Sea of Galilee? Whom did call next?
Today's Gospel makes reference to fishing. You can try your hand at fishing in your own home. Draw some fish and attach a small magnet to the back. Tie a paper clip onto a piece of string and then go fishing!
In the first reading, the people of Nineveh proclaimed a fast. See if you can fast from something for one day. It might be a certain food or drink, or maybe electronics.