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Monday – First Week – OT1
Readings: Heb 1:1-6; Mk 1:14-20.
1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 1:1 In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; 2 in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, 3 who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”? Or again: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”? 6 And again, when he leads the first-born into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 1:14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 16 As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19 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. 20 Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.
I. THEME: Teamwork
There are some people who are very successful when working by themselves, but are failed when they have to work with others. There are many reasons for it: fearing of loosing power; of others shall be better than them; of sharing their profits, etc. To work together, one must trust their partners before they can prove that they are worthy of one’s trust; and must see the profits from teamwork more than the loss that one shall loose.
Moreover, for the teamwork to be successful, one must train workers so they know what to do and can handle the work that one expects. Secondly, when one gives the work, one must also give certain power because they represent him to solve the problem; one also needs to tell them of their limited power. Lastly, one must give them all necessary means so that they can fulfill their work.
Today readings show the teamwork between the Father and the Son. In the first reading, the author reported the Father works with prophets, angels and His Son. In times past, He used the prophets’ mouthpiece to announce for people what He wants. In the last days, He used His Only Begotten Son to reveal and to instruct people. In the Gospel, after getting his mission from the Father, Jesus called his four first disciples to train before he sent them out to continue his mission on earth.
1/ Reading I: God works with the prophets, His Son and the angels.
1.1/ God worked with the prophets: The author reported: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets.” St. Thomas Aquinas gave the fundamental principle: God does all things for people according to human way. If not according to human way, people shall not be able to understand them. For example, in order for people to understand what God wants, God used the prophets’ mouthpiece so that they used human language to convey what God wants. Of course, God revealed for them what God wanted through dreams, visions, etc. In the Old Testament, God didn’t directly work with people, but through angels, forefathers, judges and prophets. The author emphasized on the two ways that God worked with the prophets:
(1) Many times: In Greek, we must translate as “many parts,” because people didn’t have capacity to receive God’s revelation in one time. God divided it into many parts, each prophet a part; for example, the prophet Amos with the social justice; the prophet Isaiah with God’s holiness, etc.
(2) Many ways: The prophets used different ways to convey God’s messages; the most usual way is by using their mouth, but also by their acts as the prophet Jeremiah.
1.2/ God works with the Son: “In these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe.”
(1) God works with the Son in all things: creation, providence and salvation. Like John, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews believed the Son who co-operates with the Father in these three main works. He is God’s wisdom.
(2) The Son’s prominent role: He “is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.” He is the light and God’s image to the point he can say to Thomas, his disciples, “whoever sees the Son, sees the Father.”
The Son is prominent than the prophets since he reveals to people all things he saw from the Father, and is also outstanding than the angels because all God’s power, honor and glory are in him. The author compared the Son’s role with the angels as follows: “As far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs;” and, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” The most important thing that happens with the Son’s coming is from now on, people can directly come to the Father, not through prophets or angels as old days.
2/ Gospel: Jesus called his first four disciples.
2.1/ “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men:” Today Gospel begins Jesus’ public ministry after thirty-years hidden himself at Nazareth. His message for all people is, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Two important things Jesus wants to emphasize:
(1) The time is fulfilled, God’s kingdom has come: Like the Letter to the Hebrews, Mark wanted to emphasize the important appearance of Jesus. There is still a continuation in God’s plan of salvation, but is brought to perfection by Jesus.
(2) Repent, and believe in the Gospel: This is the condition for people to have God’s salvation.
To find people to co-operate in spreading the message, Jesus called his first four disciples. He is familiar with the Galilee Sea and fishermen; he might walk around it and talked with them; but today, he invited them to forfeit everything to follow him. Fisherman is a hard work and requires lots of patience. They must catch fish when they are looking for something to eat, not at any time. The time to catch fish used to be from night to dawn, it is human sleeping time. Jesus only promised them one thing, “I will make you fishers of men.” In other words, he shall train them to save human souls. He wanted them to recognize the meaning of life by comparing with what they are doing: To fish for daily food isn’t important to fish for saving souls who are in need of them.
2.2/ The disciples’ attitudes:
(1) Simon and Andreas: Immediately “they abandoned their nets and followed him.” Their attitudes are courageous and once for all. Courageous because they must forfeit their career; they didn’t question that what they shall do for a living. Once for all because they instantly decided, not hesitated.
(2) James and John: “They left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.” They forfeited not only their career but also their old father. Jesus must have something that attracts them more than their career and familial relationship.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– God can do all things by Himself, but He wants human cooperation. We must also learn how to work with others.
– We need to positively react to God’s invitation, especially in bringing the Good News for all people.