Third Sunday after the Epiphany – Year B

January 21 - 25

Gospel Lectionary Text

Mark 1:14-20

1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,

1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

1:16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea--for they were fishermen.

1:17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people."

1:18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

1:19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.

1:20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.


Welcome to the third week after the epiphany. The lectionary pairs the Gospel with Jonah's Old Testament tale. Both are centered on the theme of repentance. But notice who struggles to repent? In the OT, the Ninevites heed God’s call rather easily. It’s Jonah, the reluctant missionary, who balks, angered by God's compassion for his enemies.

In today’s Gospel, having received (and tested) his own baptismal identity as the beloved, Jesus comes proclaiming the Good News of the same God whose “abounding love” unsettled Jonah’s moral compass. It's in this light that Jesus invites us to “repent,” or quite literally, to change the way we see. Only by recognizing our belovedness and God’s eagerness to forgive can we truly repent. The Good News is that forgiveness precedes repentance. We are all loved and forgiven. Embracing the magnitude of that love opens the door to true change.


Are there areas in your life where God’s “abounding love” for others challenges your moral compass?


Take Lord and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will, all that I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you Lord I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will. I ask only for your love and your grace. That is enough. See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections


A local Pastor was telling me about her neighbors’ reaction to a proposed winter shelter. It was set to be located in a large and currently empty community center in their affluent neighborhood. Every year in the Pacific Northwest winter, unsheltered neighbors die of exposure to the cold—the shelter will offer a simple place to...

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Right Time Moments

During the season of Epiphany, I’ve committed to be more aware of the ways that God is present and at work in and around me each day. Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve seen three weeks into Epiphany: I performed two memorial services—both for young men in our community who died unexpectedly, literally leaving hundreds...

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Leaving Our Nets

This week we read of four fisherman Jesus encounters while strolling along the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 1:14-20). We don’t know if these hardworking fishing professionals have ever even heard an actual sermon from Jesus. It seems that Jesus’s preaching in Galilee was finished prior to this encounter on the shore.

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison