Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 21, 2018
How about a real “fish story” from today’s Sunday Scriptures? Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman, with the Sunday Soundbite for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.
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 wholehearted 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!