9 January
Mk 1:14-20

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’  As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

The New Testament is full of fish!  Fish was people’s staple diet (see Mt 7:10; Mk 6:30-34; Lk 11:11; etc.).  Fishing was therefore an important trade.  The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that in his time there were more than 300 boats fishing on the lake of Galilee.  The lakeside town Bethsaida means ‘house of fish’. 

It was people who plied this ordinary trade that Jesus called; not learned scribes or professional religious people, but working men.  He himself came from a no-good place, Nazareth, and he never lost the common touch.  Most people are snobs in one way or another. “You can't put a great soul into a commonplace person,” wrote D.H. Lawrence; “commonplace persons have commonplace souls.”  The man from Nazareth would never agree with that.  He looked at broken bodies, ignorant minds, prostrated lives; he looked at loud-mouthed fishermen (those two were not called ‘sons of thunder’ for nothing!), and saw greatness there. 

He even looked at Pharisees, who were the primary snobs of their day, and saw greatness. 


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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