January 26: 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalm: 27; 2. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23.
Today’s readings give us a real sense of what our lives in Jesus Christ are to be like. Each author guides us to ponder the bright future God sets before us.
Isaiah orients these thoughts towards focusing upon a specific territory within the Holy Land. And that is the Galilee, an unlikely place in many respects. That is because the South, and Jerusalem in particular, is most often the prime place of reference for Jewish worship and pilgrimage. From up North however, Isaiah prophesies, there will arise a new, transforming light that will restore stability to Israel – a great joy to look forward to.
Paul also has a mind to re-direct the attitudes and thinking of the Corinthians. He is calling for a unified vision of what it means to belong to the Church. And proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ, that is the Good News concerning the new life won by our crucified saviour, must become a key focus point for every member of that Church. Realigning one’s thinking in this manner is thus a lesson all should adopt.
The Gospel from Matthew connects with the earlier readings through its focus on the Galilee foreseen by Isaiah and Jesus as he begins to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven. It is particularly significant here that Jesus calls his first disciples to accompany him in this mission. And they immediately drop everything to fall in behind him. It is in this context that we see the importance of understanding what Jesus came to say and do and what successive generations of believers continue to deliver in his name.
The insight offered by these readings comes from their focus on God’s great plan for us all. A new light has indeed shone in our midst and we must endeavour to keep it burning brightly.