January 26, 2014 - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted Jan 23, 2014, 7:21 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:16 PM ]

Gospel of Matthew 4: 12-23

Mel’s Reflection
Many of us are familiar with this Bible story where Jesus poetically calls his first disciples to follow Him.  It is a poignant and touching scene: two men with their own financial, emotional and spiritual struggles are so moved by their faith in God that they surrender the life they had lived in order to follow Jesus.  In past readings I would be quick to notice Andrew and Peter’s encounter with Jesus, but this time I found myself noticing Jesus’ side of the story.  What struck me about this Gospel is the fact that Jesus begins His ministry during a time of personal turmoil.  He hears news that John—his kinsmen and most ardent supporter—is arrested for preaching God’s message.  As I read this Gospel I was wondering how Jesus must have felt to discover that someone He loved was being jailed and taken away from Him.  Despite the worry and anguish this must of caused Jesus, He responds with great courage and trust in God.  Jesus bravely continues the job that John began; in spite of the risks involved with preaching God’s message.

This observation made me recall a time when I had responded with a courageous act of faith in God, even when I was faced with the risks involved with being Catholic.  Back in high school, I was timid to talk about my faith.  I avoided the subject with my peers to protect myself from being questioned or even taunted about my commitment to the church.  I was already dubbed a “nerd” and I definitely didn’t want to known as a “Christian nerd” either. But finally I went to college, where I found my tribe.  As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, my Catholic-Christian identity began to blossom and I found myself becoming more comfortable to talk with others (even those who weren’t Christian) about my love for God.  I was so sure of my relationship with God: going to mass and reading the Bible every week, flying to the Philippines one summer to live an orphanage and experience God’s love with other Christians.  Yet at the height of my confidence in my faith in God, I found myself romantically involved with someone who did not share my faith and Catholic beliefs.

I was in that on-and-off again relationship for seven years.  It is a struggle to try to make a relationship work without both partners recognizing that God must be present to help remind us His lessons of love, understanding, patience and grace.  Finally after a year of prayer and reflection on God’s Word; I realized that my relationship with this man was getting in the way of my relationship with God.  When I had gathered up the courage to re-assert my Catholic-Christian identity and re-affirm my belief that my relationship with God is my sole priority, I was exposing myself to the risks of being a devoted Catholic.  Despite my fears that I would be rejected and alienated by my boyfriend at the time, I put all of my trust in God.  Re-committing myself to my spiritual relationship with God by ending my romantic relationship was one of the best decisions of my life.

This Sunday’s Gospel reminds me to stay true to my faith in God even in tough times; in spite of the possibility of being ostracized or rejected by others.  Just as Jesus lost one friend but gained two, courageous acts of faith in our God may seem intimidating at times but with God’s wisdom and guidance we will discover that when it comes to being faithful to God, the rewards always outweigh the risks. 

Chris' Reflection
This Gospel is a really powerful one. In the second part of the reading, Jesus meets two brothers. He asks them to drop all that they have and leave with Jesus, with barely any hesitation they do just that. They become the first disciples of Christ and together the 3 of them helped spread the word of God.

I really admire Peter and Andrew for the devotion they showed. They left their jobs, their family, everything and trusted in God. They recognized their calling and their higher purpose and they seized it. It was very courageous of them.

To be honest, readings like this make me question my own faith. I know I believe in God. I try to be thankful for all God’s blessings and live by God’s teachings as best I can. What I question is: would I be able to drop everything in my life if God asked me to? I don’t know if I could. It would be really hard to leave everything behind, my family, my friends, all the comforts of my life. I would probably question if it was really God calling me, or why God would ask that of me. It would take me a while to decide what to do. I don’t think I could just leave like the two disciples did.

Maybe I do have the courage, but I don’t know. This might be one of those cases where you’ll never really know how you’ll respond until the situation actually presents itself. For now, my focus is on putting others before myself. That’s how I try to live out this Gospel. it’s calling us to think bigger than our daily lives and daily distractions. It’s calling us to go out and help others. Even if I’m not throwing out all my possessions to roam the world, I hope that the small sacrifices I make for others can add up to something big enough to be worthy of God.