SUNDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
“WORD OF GOD SUNDAY”
Is 8:23–9:3; Ps 27:1,4,13-14; 1 Cor 1:10-13,17; Mt 4:12-23
CONVERSION IS RENEWAL INSIDE OUT
The poem in the first reading may have been composed in 732 BC when the King of Assyria destroyed Israel. According to their custom, the Assyrians took many of the people to the other end of their empire. They resided in the territory of Zebulun and Napthali, which centuries later would become Galilee. Dispersed among the pagans, they were coming out of sacred history to enter into darkness. The liberation promised to them is presented as a crushing victory of the Lord, inaugurating a reign of peace, related to Immanuel. The people who walk in darkness… The Gospel sees in that people the crowds whom Jesus addresses; A people dominated by every kind of oppressors; A people seeking light without hope.
The Responsorial Psalm invites us to reflect that in the struggles of this life, the believer is not discouraged because she/ he clings to the hope the Lord has in store for him at the end of the conflict. A trust without limits. Though Father and Mother forsake me, yet will the Lord receive me. To such a God the psalmist can say: One thing seek…to dwell in the house of the Lord. All the struggles, trials and temptations will not let us forget the house of the Lord at the end of the road. I will place the victor, like a column in the sanctuary of my God. I will write on him the name of my God and my own new name. (Rev 3:12)
In the second reading, we are told that the first sin of the church is the division among believers. “Agree among yourselves and do away with divisions.” – Saint Paul admonishes the Christian communities. Understood when the church is a community sharing the same concerns. It is different when the church gathers together large numbers of people of different backgrounds, who are perhaps opposed to one another in daily life. In this case, too, the Christian community must be united not by ignoring reality and never talking of inequalities, but by recognizing individual and collective faults in daily life. The church can never be a reunion of passive or ‘heavenly’ people. That would be like getting rid of the cross of Christ. St Paul tells the people of Corinth that all Christian wisdom is contained in the cross. The cross should be present in the message we preach and in the way we preach it. The Gospel reflects on repentance. With Jesus, conversion means a renewal of life from inside out. The Gospel will tell us that this renewal follows the discovery of God’s mercy and is the work of his Spirit within us. God becomes human, Jesus shares the life of the people of his time and like the prophets he teaches by what he says and does. The time has come. Be rid of all that hampers you, of all that prevents you from seeing and believe! Believe that it is He! He alone is able to save you. This conversion was shown by the abandoning of the nets, which means their families, and work and they began to live with Jesus. Simon, Andrew, James and John. Jesus already knew them: he had met them when John the Baptist was preaching. The first nucleus of disciples is this natural group of lake fishermen of which Peter seemed to be the leader. They were most probably young men, ready to make a commitment at a time and in a culture where people were freer than we are from the constraints of work. They trusted Jesus to guide them. Conversion is also presented by the image of Light. Every Christian is a bearer of light. Enlightened by Christ and by worthy celebration of the Sacraments, every Christian is duty bound to be the light of Christ in a world enveloped by dark clouds. Light is a powerful symbol. A small flicker of light can cast away a thick and heavy surrounding of darkness. Hence each of us have to be lights, who know and show the way to the brightness of goodness and photosynthesis of human living. Let us conclude with the beautiful poem by Card. John Henry Newman. “Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom”…
Response: The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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