canadian-lakeGrowing up on a farm that had been in my family for several generations on the south coast of NSW, my brothers and I were aware of the desire that my father had that one of us would continue the tradition and farm the land. Once we had each moved away to study and work, this expectation quickly faded into the distance and we had to accept as a family that no one would take over the farm and it would be sold. But within living memory, this expectation was much more closely followed and farms and businesses would be handed on from one generation to the next with the easy expectation that the future of the children was assured as long as they were prepared to work hard enough. Certainly there is evidence that in the region around the Sea of Galilee during the first century, fishermen would hand on the trade not just across a few generations but some may have even operated over several centuries. That this seemingly unknown preacher from Galilee would call the two sons of Zebedee (who is named surely because he is well-known to the readers of Mark within the region) and James and John would immediately leave behind their father and his servants in the boats and follow Jesus is meant to be very shocking. What is the message that Jesus proclaims as he walks along the shore of the lake and why is it so attractive to those who first hear it?

The proclamation of Jesus is not just good advice, or about a new social order or spirituality. It includes these things – but it is the declaration that the kingdom of God is now on the move and in the person of Jesus the future kingdom is beginning to break into the lives of ordinary people. We are called likewise to be the receivers and bearers of this gift and to continue to say yes to being used by the Lord to share this precious gift with the world.

Play MP3

Sunday 3, Year B.
Jonah 3:1-5,10; Mark 1:14-20
Recorded at NET training, Weyba Downs, Qld (8min, 35secs)

Twenty five years ago this week (1990), I became a Seminarian and began my long formation journey towards priesthood and service in the kingdom of God when I joined Fr (Archbishop) Julian in his consecrated life house in Wahroonga. Nine years later, on this day in 1999, the conversion of St Paul, I became a brother with the Discalced Carmelites at Varroville. Then ten years ago in 2005, also on this day, I met with Bishop Peter Ingham who welcomed me into the Diocese of Wollongong, going on to be ordained a deacon later that year and a priest in 2006. So although I don’t know exactly what this year will hold, I do know that whenever I stay close to the heart of the Lord, his grace and mercy is always enough to allow the abundance of life to be experienced and shared.