God’s plan of salvation is beginning to unfold. We have heard how John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by teaching the people and baptising them. In today’s Gospel Jesus, after learning that John has been arrested, begins his own ministry. His first word to the people is, ‘Repent,’ calling them to turn their hearts and minds back to God. With the call to repentance comes a promise; the kingdom of God is close at hand. The coming of the kingdom is Good News; Jesus will heal the sick and preach a message of hope for the poor. He is shining a light in the darkness, as the prophet Isaiah foretells in the First Reading.
Today’s Gospel also shows us something of the cost of being a disciple of Jesus. He calls the two pairs of brothers, Simon and Andrew, James and John, to leave everything behind and follow him. From being fishermen, they become ‘fishers of men,’ bringing others to Jesus. In the end, they would give their lives for him. The call of these first four disciples is the beginning of the Church.
Today, Jesus still needs disciples who will help to spread his Good News throughout the world. He calls us to become fishers of men and women and to give our lives to him.