Today’s Gospel reveals the extraordinary and radical call from Jesus to follow Him. Simon and Andrew are the two who respond to the call in this passage, but their response is also an invitation to all of us to step out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.

This passage especially reveals two things:

  • the immediate response of these Apostles, and
  • their complete response. They clearly did not hold back or hesitate in responding to the invitation from Jesus to follow Him.

What about you? Do you hear Jesus calling you? Do you hear Him speak to you, calling you to come after Him? Hopefully, as our Lord speaks to each one of us, we will respond immediately and completely. Hopefully, we will not hesitate to embrace the glorious calling we each have been given.

Jesus begins His public ministry immediately after being tempted by the devil while in the desert for forty days. As He begins His ministry, He declares: “This is the time of fulfilment.” First, the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry was, historically speaking, the “time of fulfilment,” in that the new era of the Gospel and grace had just begun. But the “time of fulfilment” of which Jesus speaks also refers to every time that we hear the Gospel and respond. We do this by sincerely repenting of our sins and by becoming a fuller member of God’s Kingdom. But ponder for a moment the specific word “fulfilment.” What does this mean?

The word “fulfilled” can be contrasted with its opposite “unfulfilled.” To be unfulfilled is always undesirable. In this world, many people find themselves unfulfilled and try to fill this void with many things. Interestingly, the three temptations that Jesus had just experienced in the desert are among the temptations that so many people give into during their search for fulfilment in life.

First, Jesus was hungry, and the devil tempted Him to turn stones into bread to satiate that hunger. This is a temptation to fleshly fulfilment. Second, the devil tempted Jesus to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple to prove He was the Son of God. This is a temptation to fulfilment by pride—pride to convince another of one’s importance and identity. Third, the devil showed Jesus all the nations of the world and promised them to our Lord if Jesus worshipped him. This is a temptation to fulfilment by obtaining earthly wealth and power. Of course, Jesus rejected all three temptations as a way of showing that none of these truly fulfilled us. And He did this just before the beginning of His public ministry to then go forth preaching the true message of fulfilment. “This is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

True fulfilment is only found in the Gospel, the message of Truth that Jesus shared during His three years of public ministry and then brought to completion by His sacrificial death and resurrection. Only those who heed His words and open themselves to the grace poured forth from the Cross can find the fulfilment that they seek.

Reflect, today, upon your interior desire for fulfilment in life. How do you try to satiate this desire? Do you allow the evil one to trick you into thinking that fleshly desires, pride or wealth are the answer? Reject those temptations with our Lord and then immerse yourself in His Gospel message, which is the only source of fulfilment in life.

By Evelyn Lai