It seems like just yesterday that John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River. Oh wait, it was just yesterday! But today’s reading fast forwards a bit and takes us to a time after John has been arrested. John isn’t dead yet, not yet out of the picture, but clearly he is decreasing, as he says in another place, so that Jesus can increase.
And Jesus is certainly increasing. His ministry is kicking into full swing, and he begins by preaching that the kingdom is at hand – a theme that will continue his whole life long. And he begins to call his followers. Simon and Andrew, James and John, two sets of brothers, two groups of fishermen, give up their nets and their boats and their fathers and turn instead to casting nets to catch men and women for God’s kingdom.
As the author of our first reading from the letter to the Hebrews tells us, in times past God spoke in partial and various ways and through prophets – including, actually, John the Baptist. But now God doesn’t need the prophets anymore. He is speaking – and acting – directly through his Son Jesus, the heir of all things, the one through whom God created the universe, the refulgence of God’s glory.
You know, even though today is the first day of Ordinary Time, we continue some aspects of Christmas and the Epiphany right up until February second, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. So today’s Gospel fits right in with that. Today’s Gospel gives us a little more light to see what Jesus is up to. He calls us all to repentance and to accept the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. He says to us just as he said to Simon, Andrew, James and John: “Come follow me.” The year ahead can be an exciting spiritual journey for us. Who knows what Jesus will do in us to further the kingdom of God? We just have to answer that wonderful invitation – “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”