The shepherds came, the Magi came, and now the Nativity scene has changed, and those colorful figures have gone. They make a colorful and rich celebration of the Nativity, full of light and hope. And the music changes. From carols all can sing because we all know the words and feel the joy they express.
So, the gospel for the First Sunday of Ordinary Time does a leap into the public life of Jesus, with his baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. I felt a twinge of sadness that the colorful Christmas season had ended. Somehow all the bad news that fills news reports must be faced without the comfort of the Christmas message still ringing in our ears. The Christmas crib has been put away.
So we try to see the wisdom of the Gospel for the First Sunday of Ordinary time—and the weeks that follow. The Scripture readings follow the living and walking and wonder-working of the grown Jesus. It begins with the Gospel of the calling of his first disciples, fishermen busy with their catch and cleaning their nets. He calls them to follow him—and they do.
For us it is a reminder of the vocation we are called to in this stage of our lives. We are ongoing disciples, wiser and battle-scarred and experienced, being called anew to follow and believe and take on his likeness, as the first disciples did over their years of walking with him. What we have become over the years, what has formed us and made us who we are now—we—like the first disciples are called again to follow him.