Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
January 21, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.







Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

First Reading Jon 3:1-5,10 1 

The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD'S bidding.

Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, "
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5,6-7,8-9 

R/. Teach me your ways, O Lord.


Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior. R/.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD. R/.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice
and teaches the humble his way. R/.

Second Reading 1 Cor 7:29-31 

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning, 
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

Alleluia Mk 1:15 


Gospel Mk 1:14-20 

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."
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
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.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

Catena Nova

Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God (Pope St. Clement of Rome).
It is not for nothing that our God draws floods of tears from us; he does so to incite us to recover by penance and a change of heart what we had previously let slip through carelessness....Yet no matter how many wounds our human nature has sustained, we are never justified in giving ourselves over to despair, for the Lord is magnanimous enough to pour out his compassion abundantly on all who need it (Caesarius of Arles).
Let us beware of losing all hope but let us also avoid giving in too easily to carelessness…  Despair hinders those who have fallen, from getting up again and carelessness causes those who are standing, to fall….If presumption casts us down from the heights of heaven, despair casts us into the infinite depths of evil, whereas a little hope is enough to hold us back…This is how Nineveh was saved…. Let this example keep us from despairing.  For the devil thinks of this form of weakness as his most successful weapon and, even when we sin, we could not give him greater pleasure than when we lose hope (St. John Chrysostom).
It is clear, my brothers and sisters, that we live outside ourselves, we are forgetful of ourselves whenever we fritter our lives away in empty pursuits or distractions, decked out with trifles. That is why Wisdom is more concerned to invite us to the house of repentance than the house of feasting, that is to say to call back into themselves, those who are outside themselves (Bl. Isaac of Stella).

Pay attention to what you love, what you fear, at what makes you happy or what makes you sad and you will sometimes see are still a person of the world.  Indeed, the heart is wholly contained in these four feelings and it is concerning them, I think, we must understand these words: “Be converted to the Lord with all your heart.” May your loving be converted, in such a way, that you love nothing but the Lord, or rather that you love nothing except for God’s sake. May your fear also be turned towards Him, for any fear that makes us afraid of something apart from Him and not because of Him is bad.  May your joy and your sadness be converted to Him, this is how it will be if you neither suffer nor rejoice except in Him (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

Lord, may Your kingdom come into my heart to sanctify me, nourish me and purify me. How insignificant is the passing moment, to the eye without faith! But how important each moment is, to the eye enlightened by faith! How can we deem insignificant anything which has been caused by You? Every moment and every event is guided by You and so contains Your infinite greatness. So, Lord, I glorify You in everything that happens to me. In whatever manner You make me live and die, I am content. Events please me for their own sake, regardless of their consequences because Your action lies behind them. Everything is heaven to me because all my moments, manifest Your love. Amen (Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade).

All through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in baptism, but afterwards also; whether we obey his voice or not, he graciously calls us still. If we fall from our baptism, he calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfill our calling, he calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us….. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again—and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us. It were well if we understood this; but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by his hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow him. We do not understand that his call is a thing which takes place now (St. John Henry Newman).



     "The one who hesitates is lost," so the proverb says.  Which seems to fly in the face of prudence, one of the cardinal virtues.  After all, important decisions in life should always be made with due deliberation, after seeking wise counsel, weighing pros and cons, and anticipating consequences.  No one wants to be thought of as impulsive or foolhardy.  Although advertisers hope lots of people are just that as they rush to buy products that "won't last long at this price" and whose "supplies are limited."  We've all been there and done that.
Which makes you wonder about these characters we met last week and today with their precipitous, life-changing, behavior adopted we're told on a moment's notice and with very little evidence to support their decision.  The accounts differ somewhat.  From John we learned Andrew and another disciple of John the Baptist are told Jesus is the "Lamb of God" — even though John himself "did not know him" without divine prompting.  Nevertheless, after a few hours in his company they're quick to switch allegiance from John to Jesus and before you know it Andrew is telling his brother Simon they found the Messiah.  And before you know it, Simon's name is changed to Peter and the rest is history.  
     Now in Mark's account Andrew and Simon are minding their own business when this preacher from Nazareth tells them to follow him and they abandoned their nets in order to catch fish of a different sort.  All in a matter of moments with James and John soon joining them, leaving their poor father Zebedee alone with the hired men (G).
     All of which is very unlike Jonah who did hesitate and ended up in the belly of a whale!  For if there was ever a reluctant prophet, it was he.  The last thing Jonah wanted was to see God giving the Ninevites a chance to repent.  Nineveh, after all, was the capital city of Assyria, the sworn enemy of Israel famous for theit cruelty, ill-begotten wealth and idolatry.  So he resisted the call.  In the end, however, he relented — after the whale disgorged him — and, lo and behold, without hesitation the Ninevites heeded the message: they believed God, proclaimed a fast, put on sackcloth and turned from their evil ways (cf. I).  It's a fantastic tale with a lesson about responding — or not — to divine invitations promptly.  
     So what shall we do if Providence suddenly comes a calling?  Throw caution to the winds?  Leave work and family behind?  Chart a course whose destination is unknown or, worse, like the apostles, might get you killed?  Well, there's probably more to the story.  The gospels likely compress into a few lines a story that's rather more involved.  It's entirely possible those fishermen already heard Jesus proclaiming the good news of God; the message Mark sums up with the words, "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the gospel. (Cf. 1:14-15).  Perhaps they'd also seen a miracle or two in the local synagogue. 
     In other words, before some new course of action suggests itself, before which we might otherwise shrink out of prudent discretion, there are usually some initial rumblings, some intimations however subtle, even some premonition that something's brewing.  Maybe we're ill at ease with some aspect of out life, guilty even, or we sense there has to be something more to do with my remaining years.  It dawns on us what Paul was telling those recalcitrant Corinthians: The time is running out…for the world in its present form is passing away (I).  And perhaps in one decisive moment, perhaps more gradually, and the "present form" of your own life changes. 
     On Monday the civic calendar celebrated a feast day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  But it might come as a surprise to learn how his early leadership in the civil rights movement was not something he embraced immediately.  Some time before Rosa Park's arrest for not giving up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white passenger, King was offered the presidency of the NAACP.  He declined — out of prudence — noting his recently-acquired responsibilities as a father and pastor.  
     When asked merely to hold an organizational meeting at his church to respond to the arrest, he said, "Let me think about it awhile and call you back." He later agreed on condition he didn't have to do any organizing himself.  But he did eventually accept appointment to lead a newly-formed black leadership group for the city of Montgomery.  And after giving a thunderous sermon at another Baptist church shortly thereafter, he was catapulted to leader of the bus boycott and the rest is history for him, as it was for Peter.
     Years later, he would say -- no doubt with this experience in mind — "Fear produces not only doubt but also hesitation. When we hesitate to move forward on a spiritual nudge, we risk missing an opportunity that was meant for us. Bouncing back and moving forward on your creative ideas is a sure act of faith. Take that step!"  
     Now we probably won't have such dramatic turnarounds — but we might. The important thing is attentive listening to the Word of God, however and through whomever it reaches us, allowing God to direct our actions according to his good pleasure (Collect) as we prayed at the beginning of Mass, and all dutifully responded, Amen!  Just be careful you don't end up in the belly of a whale!

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For greater openness to the Word of God: that we may allow the Word to penetrate our hearts, call us to life, and motivate us to serve God lovingly.

For the grace of courage: that the Spirit of God will make us confident in sharing God’s message and that our lives will be an invitation to others to encounter God today.

For Christian Unity: that God will heal the wounds and misunderstandings of the past, lead all the baptized to offer a more united witness to the Gospel, and offer greater service to our suffering and vulnerable neighbors.

For greater care for the earth and its resources: that God will guide us in being good stewards of the earth and protecting its resources for future generations.

For Congress and the Administration: that God will inspire their understanding of the current issues and guide them in addressing the economic, healthcare, and safety issues of our society.

For all who have experienced persecution for their faith: that God will give them the strength to remain faithful and protect them from further harm.

For healing of our nation: that God will heal the divisiveness and mistrust that divides us and open a new path of dialogue, cooperation, and advancement of the Common Good.

Your sovereign rule, O God, draws near to us in the person of Jesus your Son. Your word summons us to faith, your power transforms our lives. Free us to follow in Christ’s footsteps, so that neither human loyalty nor earthly attachment may hold us back from answering your call. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn (Edward Hayes Plumptre, 1821-1891)


Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old,
was strong to heal and save;
It triumphed over disease and death,
over darkness and the grave.
To Thee they went, the blind, the dumb,
the palsied and the lame,
The leper with his tainted life,
the sick with fevered frame.

And lo! Thy touch brought life and health,
gave speech, and strength and sight;
And youth renewed and fear relieved
owned Thee, the Lord of light;
And now, O Lord, be near to bless,
Almighty as of yore,
In crowded street, by restless couch,
as by Gennesaret's shore.

Be Thou our great Deliverer still,
Thou Lord of life and death;
Restore and quicken, soothe and bless,
with Thine almighty breath.
To hands that work and eyes that see,
give wisdom's heavenly lore,
That whole and sick, and weak and strong,
may praise Thee evermore.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn (Pescador De Hombres); Original Spanish Text: Cesareo Gabarin(1936-1991)


O Lord, with your eyes set upon me,

gently smiling, you have spoken my name;

all I longed for I have found by the water,

at your side, I will seek other shores.


Lord, you have come to the seashore,

neither searching for the rich nor the wise,

desiring only that I should follow.


Lord, see my goods, my possessions;

in my boat you find no power, no wealth.

Will You accept, then, my nets and labor?


Lord, take my hands and direct them.

Help me spend myself in seeking the lost,

returning love for the love You gave Me.


Lord, as I drift on the waters,

be the resting place of my restless heart,

my life's companion, my friend and refuge.