As we move into the Ordinary Time of the Church’s liturgical year, we hear two stories from the scriptures that can help us all make a new beginning. The story of Samuel begins with barrenness and emptiness. Hannah considers herself cursed because she is unable to conceive a child. But Hannah’s emptiness will be filled. In fact, her emptiness is the fertile condition that allows something wonderful to happen. Saint Mark’s Gospel begins with fullness. Filled with the Holy Spirit, who came upon him at his baptism, Our Lord is full of Good News.
Our Lord’s invitation to the fishermen is an invitation to the fullness of the Gospel. But it’s also an invitation to emptiness. In effect Our Lord says: Repent, empty yourselves and make room for the Good News. He asks Peter, Andrew, James and John to leave everything behind and invites them to the fullness of following him.
For both Hannah and the fishermen emptiness enabled them to be open to fullness. In just the same way we have to become empty in order to be filled. We have to reform and change our lives in order to be open to receive the Gospel. The New Year gives us the incentive to make a fresh start in some area of our lives. The questions to ask today are: What do I have to empty out in order to make room for growth? What has to happen this year, so that I can let more of the Lord’s fullness into my life?