Theme: JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 8:12)
- Isaiah 8:23-9:3;
- Psalm 26:1. 4. 13-14. R/ v. 1;
- Corinthians 1:10-13. 17
- Matthew 4:12-23 (Shorter Form, verses 12-17.)
Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that Jesus is the light of the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Mt 4:16; SM)
Light in the New Testament symbolizes 3 things (Jn 8:12b; NJB):
(1) Light symbolizes faith as opposed to unbelief which is darkness.
(2) Light symbolizes life, happiness and contentment as opposed to death, misery and unhappiness which is darkness.
(3) Light symbolizes good as opposed to evil which is darkness.
More importantly, the 3 themes are related, that is, faith in God gives us life and the
life from God is good, because God is good. In fact, only God is good!
Most importantly, in the end, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil; because God has overcome the Devil in Jesus Christ and God continues to overcome the Devil in the Holy Spirit until the end of time when God will overcome the Devil completely, finally and totally! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Salvation of the world!
The gospel today also tells us to repent, because the kingdom of heaven/God is close at hand! To repent does not only mean turning away from sin and turning to God, but to repent also means turning away from the world and turning to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation, that is, turning to the God of Jesus Christ, because only the God of Jesus Christ can save us from sin and death!
The gospel today tells us that the first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John did not only turn away from sin and to God, but they also turned away from the world and to the God of Jesus Christ! And they did it immediately and totally! They left everything at once and followed Jesus!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that Jesus is the light of the world! The first reading is fulfilled in the gospel. That is why the first reading is quoted in the gospel. Thus we read again:
“The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” (Is 9:1; SM)
The first reading also tells us that Jesus, the light of the world brings us great joy and happiness! Thus we read:
“You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.” (Is 9:2; SM)
Finally, the first reading tells us that Jesus the light of the world saves us! Thus we read:
“For the yoke that was weighing on him, the bar across his shoulders, the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of Midian.” (Is 9:3; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus we responded three times:
“The Lord is my light and my help.” (Ps 26:1; SM)
That is, the Lord is my light and my salvation! (CSB; NJB)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (v. 1) from which the response is taken tells us that the Lord is our light and our salvation! The second stanza (v. 4) tells us that the salvation of the Lord is in the temple! The third stanza (vv. 13-14) tells us that the salvation of the Lord is in heaven! (NJB; IBC)
In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to be united! The Corinthians were divided into factions; with one faction for Paul, one faction for Apollos, one faction for Peter (Cephas), and one faction for Christ. Paul tells the Corinthians that they were all baptized in the name of Christ, not in the name of Paul or Peter or Apollos; and as such they are all to be united in Christ!
Today we build small Christian communities of love and unity, so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and so that our Church may be a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world; and so that our Church may be a light of salvation for the whole world; and so that the world seeing love and unity in our Church will believe in Jesus Christ and will be saved! A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!