January. 26, 2014
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 8:23 – 9:3 / Ps 27: 1, 4, 13-14 (1a)/ 1 Cor 1:10-13,17/ Mt 4:12-23 or 4:12-17
First Reading: Is 8:23 – 9:3
Yet, where there was but anguish, darkness will disappear. He has just afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Napthali; but in the future he will confer glory on the way of the sea, on the land beyond the Jordan – the pagans' Galilee. For the yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors, you have broken it as on the day of Midian.
Second Reading: 1Cor 1:10-13, 17
I beg of you, brothers, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, to agree among yourselves and do away with divisions; please be perfectly united, with one mind and one judgment. For I heard from people of Cloe's house about your rivalries. What I mean is this: Some say, "I am for Paul," and others: "I am for Apollo," or "I am for Peter," or "I am for Christ." Is Christ divided or have I, Paul, been crucified for you? Have you been baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim his Gospel. And not with beautiful words! That would be like getting rid of the cross of Christ.
Gospel: Mt 4:12-17
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth, but went to settle down in Capernaum, a town by the lake of Galilee, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way, the word of the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali crossed by the Road of the Sea, and you who live by the Jordan, Galilee land of pagans, listen: The people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shone. From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim his message, "Change your ways: the kingdom of Heaven is near." As Jesus walked by the lake of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of people." At once they left their nets and followed him. He went on from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, in a boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them. At once they left the boat and their father and followed him Jesus went around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and curing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.
It has been said that one way to describe the world we live in is to call it a world of sharp contrasts. Our world is a world of peace and war, of the wealthy and the destitute, of a "culture" of life and a "culture" of death. The readings of today's liturgy use the contrasting images of light and darkness.
Surely we can see that in our world today there are many people who are in darkness and who are walking in gloom. There is the darkness and gloom of ignorance, of deadly poverty, of rivalry and hatred and wars among nations, as well as the darkness of sin. We know that we live in a world in which there is greed for power that prevents people from experiencing true justice. We know that there is discrimination on many levels – racial discrimination, discrimination against women, discrimination based on sexual orientation. The list of what our world needs by way of liberating light can go on and on.
Where is the light for the world today? The mission of Christ is to be the light that dispels the darkness of the world, to be the light that shines in the world of gloom. Thus is the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading of today's Eucharist. It is precisely to this world, our world of darkness and gloom, that Jesus has been sent, for which he was baptized. Jesus left Nazareth to begin his light-bringing mission, which is a mission that continues up to our day. And today's gospel reading shows that from the very beginning, Jesus knew that he needed the help and cooperation of others for such a mission. The help that Jesus called for was to involve people who were themselves actually living the struggles of the darkness and gloom of the world. He did not call angels to come down from heaven. No, he called very ordinary people who were living very ordinary lives. Matthew reports about the first disciples of Jesus that "they were fishermen."
But calling them for a mission that would actually be beyond their ordinary abilities, he simply assured them: "I will make you fishers of men." What a contrast! Fishers of fish are made into fishers of men and women!
Today as we look at the mission of the Church in our present world of darkness and gloom, simple men and women like you and me are being called to follow Jesus and to have a share in the mission for which Jesus was baptized and for which he was anointed by the Spirit. Yes, still very strange indeed! Each one of us is called to some share in the mission. But for all of us, no matter what the particular call may be, we can hear the Lord say to us, "Come after me and I will make you what I want you to be." So we can be confident that with the Lord's help we can leave our boats, whatever they may be, and follow the Lord as men and women who will be his disciples. With the Lord's help we can be instruments to bring light to the gloom and darkness of our world.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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