Welcome to St. Matthew
... Go therefore and make disciples of all
WELCOME TO ST. MATTHEW PARISH!
third SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME: January 24, 2021
JON 3:1-5, 10; PS 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 COR 7:29-31; MK 1:14-20
Our readings today call us to be decisive in our faith. God calls us as stewards to repent and renew our commitment to Him each day.
In our First Reading, God instructs the prophet Jonah to travel through the city of Nineveh and warns the people that the city would be destroyed due to their evil ways. When the people of Nineveh heard this, they declared a fast in repentance. The Lord saw this and had compassion for them.
Every moment is an opportunity to either grow closer to God or further away from Him. We can identify with the people of Nineveh when we recognize that our actions are not drawing us closer to God. We may be attached to certain sins or living in complacency — over time, that can weaken our commitment to the Lord and sever the relationship we have with Him.
When we become aware of our weaknesses, it should not cause us to despair. Instead, it should call us to act quickly as the people of Nineveh did. Jonah had been gone only a single day’s walk before the people repented. We, too, should go no more than a single day without acknowledging our offenses towards God and renewing our commitment to Him with greater conviction. God wants to be compassionate towards us, but we must be willing to recognize our need to repent.
Our Gospel today shares Mark’s account of Jesus calling His first disciples. In his account, Jesus approaches Simon and Andrew, and later, James and John. These four men were fishermen, casting their nets. Jesus states, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In both instances, the men immediately abandoned what was before them and followed Christ.
Imagine if Simon and Andrew looked at their Savior and said, “Thanks for the offer, but we will finish up fishing and meet you later.” That is no way a disciple should respond to Christ’s call. Yet, that is how we often respond to Jesus’ offer to us, “Come after me.” We can easily fall into the misconception that we have plenty of time to live active discipleship. We rationalize that we will eventually get around to deepening our commitment to prayer when we have time, even though we have been wanting to do so for months. We can justify that we are too busy right now to make time to go to confession regularly, but tell ourselves we will do it soon once our schedules ease up. But as faithful stewards of our time, we must change our ways and immediately follow Christ more intentionally, because Christ is calling us to act now, just like the first disciples did.
These men became members of Jesus’ twelve apostles. They surrendered their entire lives to follow Christ. They left their jobs, homes and families, devoting their lives to God’s work. We, too, are called to surrender our lives to the Lord so that He may work through us. We might think, “God isn’t calling me.” But indeed, He is. Just as He called four ordinary fishermen, He is continuously calling each one of us. Renewing and reevaluating what God might be asking of us throughout our lives is a key component of our stewardship journey.
As we settle into this New Year, let us ponder the ways we can repent and renew our commitment to God. Let us ask ourselves, what are we casting our nets for? And are we willing to leave it behind for something much greater? If not now, when?
Crisis times, such as this pandemic, disrupt all of our lives. Some of us are getting through these times with simple inconveniences; others of us are trying to figure out how to meet our basic needs. Now is the time to remember, you’re not alone in this.
If you need someone to talk to about your faith, or where is God at in this moment in your life, please give us a call at the parish office at 847-891-1220.
There is nothing wrong with recognizing that you need help navigating your current circumstances. If you, or your family are struggling in these challenging times, consider reaching out for counseling services. Catholic Charities helps connect individuals and families to individual, family and marriage counseling, mental health concerns, substance abuse and domestic violence and also provides resources to assist with emergency needs for housing, clothing and food assistance. They can connect you to a vast array of services and professionals who can connect you to confidential help and needed resources.
For these types of services, please reach out to Sr.Chioma Ahanju at 312-655-7149 and let her know St. Matthew has referred you.
If you’re not sure whether your needs are pastoral or professional, call us at the Parish at 847-891-1220 and we can help connect you to the appropriate resource.
Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM
(Church will be open until 1:00PM for Personal Prayer)
Saturday Vigil: 5:00 PM
Sunday Masses: 8:00 AM ~ 10:00 AM ~ 12:00 PM
Thursdays: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
*Social distancing, face coverings & sanitizing practices must be observed. If sick, please stay home.*