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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

3rd. Sunday in Ordinary Time:-Year A.

Commentary Theme for this Sunday:

“The Light Of Christ Begins To Shine”. 

The Good News we have heard is like a beacon light which draws men and women irresistibly to Christ. We must not be content with lesser lights.

The first reading stresses this universality of the Church and shows how all this had already been announced by the prophet.

The second reading provides an example of a community where there are divisions because the members refuse to accept each other’s contributions. We all must accept that we are just servants serving the Lord and each other in love and humility.

In the Gospel we see Jesus starting his public ministry in Galilee, considered as a land of pagans, of people held in contempt by the other Jews. At the end of his Gospel, Matthew will say that it was from the mountain in Galilee that Jesus would send his disciples to the whole world. The ‘Light’ that shone out of the mountains of Galilee is thus destined to illuminate men and women all over the world.

It is through ‘Love and Humility’ that the Light begins to shine in us.

 

Introductory Note:

It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.

These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.

These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.

‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.

“In the Old Testament the ‘New’ is hidden.

In the New Testament the ‘Old’ is laid open”.

Saint Augustine.

 

Isaiah 9:1-4. 

In the first reading, Isaiah addresses the plight of the entire northern tribes of Israel, here represented by Zebulun and Napthali. These tribes lived in the northern part of Palestine, what is today called Galilee. When Isaiah utters the prophecy, this area is in a dangerous situation: the Assyrian army has overrun it and is oppressing the inhabitants with every type of violence. The whole area is as if it were immersed in the darkness of death.

They gave up all hope, but Isaiah thinks otherwise: “In the former times the Lord brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious … the land beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations.”  In this kingdom of darkness the prophet sees a light, he notices a sign of hope. This light appears first on the mountains of Galilee, and then it becomes brighter and larger till the whole darkness disappears. Isaiah’s prophecy comes 700 years before the birth of Christ.

What is meant by this figure of light in the first reading? He is certainly hinting at the Northern Kingdom and is hoping that the situation in which it is may be improved. He is sure that the invading Assyrian armies, responsible for all the violence will be defeated and driven out. The ‘light’ will be a king, of David’s lineage, probably Hezekiah. What takes place in history? Nothing! The Assyrians remain the masters for a long time and even the king Hezekiah will be seriously disturbed by them.

What about the prophecy? Has it come true? Yes indeed it did, for Jesus spent most of his public ministry in Galilee. He was indeed a ‘Light’ to “those who lived in a land of deep darkness”. Our vision is very limited in time and if we do not see all our wishes and dreams come true quickly, we then say that God is not with us, he is not leading us properly. Those of Zebulun and Naphtali were the ones who wanted to see the light themselves. They did not have a historical perspective and vision of God, who keeps faith and fulfils all his promises. His ways are unexpected and God himself only knows his time for action.

Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14.

In the Psalm, we join a worshipper in meditation in the Temple. He uses many terms to describe the Lord; only here in the Old Testament is he identified with the ‘light’. Christ was the ‘Light’ that came into Galilee. In Jerusalem, he described himself as the ‘Light of the world’ (Jn 8:12).

1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17.

The second reading concerns the deep divisions that arose among the Christians of Corinth. Some were saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Cephas may have introduced attitudes for which Paul rebuked him in Antioch (Gal 2:12). Paul plays down his role of baptiser; his priority was to preach Christ and him crucified. Doesn’t this remind you of the many divisions in the Church today? Paul’s answer to the Corinthians is also good for us: “Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you?”

What has caused all these divisions? Obviously it is our selfishness, our lack of understanding, our single-mindedness and the wish to dominate over others and impose on them our particular ways of thinking. Paul tells the Corinthians that the Apostles are not the masters of the Church, they are just servants; they are not the saviours, there is only one Saviour, and that is Christ.

Matthew 4:12-23.

In today’s Gospel we read how Jesus begins his ministry after the arrest of John the Baptist. After settling in Capernaum he chooses two pairs of brothers to follow him. He announces the ‘Good News’ not only by word but also by deeds. When he sees the fisherman, he does not promise the Kingdom or asks them to change their hearts. He just asks them to come away from what they are doing, and to follow. Being mesmerized by the grace of the person of Jesus, chances are they did not fully understand the whole of the commitment they were making.  We seldom do whenever we answer God’s call. The call of the disciples puts a question before each of us: what does it mean to be Christian? A phrase that occurs twenty times in the Gospel give a summary answer to this question – it is “Follow me.” These two words contain in a nutshell what the Lord asks each one of us. They mean that the example to be followed by us is nothing less than the person of Jesus as he lived his earthly life.

Discipleship doesn’t stop with asserting the truths of the catechism. It’s more than just knowing about Jesus – it is ‘knowing’ Jesus by living his ‘Way’. It means that we must get in touch with the kind of human nature that our God had. It means asking ourselves: how did he live and what did he do, and, more than that, what were the values and priorities that underlay his way of life and his actions? If we do this, we can discover what our own way of discipleship in the world today should be. Following Jesus and imitating him is the journey that all Christians are called to travel. This is not a spiritual journey we can make inside our heads – it’s an actual physical journey we can travel only when we make up our minds to imitate the Jesus of the Scriptures in ‘word and in deed’. By doing that, we can get into touch with his outlook on life, his mind-set, his standards of judgment, and also with the cause for which he lived and died for.

What are the “signposts’ to discipleship? They are, acceptance of the Cross in our lives, willingness to live a simple lifestyle, cultivating inner freedom so that we may become one with the Spirit, and bring love and joy to the people among whom we live and work. Acceptance of the Cross means that we don’t run away from suffering, but when it comes our way we accept it willingly, that it can be a way for us to grow spiritually.

Discipleship will always involve a struggle between the allurements of a ‘religion of prosperity’ and a ‘religion of solidarity with the poor’; between a ‘Church that looks inward and nourishes its own children’, and a ‘Church that brings light and joy to whatever place it happens to occupy’.

To be ‘fishers of men’ we need to cast nets in mission to those who do not belong to the Kingdom. We also need to mend nets in maintenance work, looking after those who belong to the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the ‘ideal’ and the Church is the ‘means’. The Church is called to follow Christ in proclaiming the Good news and in ministering to the diseases and sickness of all people.  If we are going to be true disciples then, we must recognize the fact that Jesus calls us away from conventional and cultural wisdom to a life ‘centred on God totally’ and not on ourselves.

Discipleship means imitating Jesus as he lived out his earthly life.

Are we proclaiming the Kingdom by word and deed? 

‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:

Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.  

Reflections for each day this Week:

          Almighty God and Father, on the … of the week following the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A, we reflect on …

Sun. … Do we in times of oppression, violence, high crime tend to give up hope in humanity and assume that the world in slipping into the abyss of darkness and evil? Are we tempted to despair or do we still trust in the Lord’s promise that righteousness and love will always prevail? 

Mon. … The ‘figure of light’ that Isaiah is hinting at in the Northern Kingdom is the light of a king of David’s lineage. The prophet is sure that the invading armies of Assyria will be defeated and driven out. History tells us that the Assyrians remained the masters in the Northern Kingdom for a ‘long time’ by our reckoning, but brief in terms of God’s time.

Tue.   … There was never a king in the history of Israel that fulfilled this prophecy to the full. This is why the people kept waiting for the ‘perfect king’ who was to be of David’s stock. The waiting lasted until the birth of a child named Jesus. The Kingdom of Peace, Love and Justice begun by this ‘King’ has not as yet come to perfect realization, and we can see this in our daily experience of life.

Wed.  … Any divisions in the Church are divisions in the ‘One’ Body of Christ. The Corinthians are warned not to be followers of any human person or institution, which may bring about conflict in the Church. God made the Church for Christ and himself to guide the ‘New People of God’. 

Thur. … It is from the ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’ that Jesus begins his public ministry. By doing so he is showing that the ‘Light’ is not only for the Jews, but for all. The invitation of the disciples to follow Jesus means to leave behind all customs incompatible with his Word: hatred, feuds, polygamy, divination and many more things we may have adopted which are contrary to the Way, Truth and the Life. 

Frid.  … Following Jesus and imitating him is the journey that all Christians are called to travel. This is not only a spiritual journey we make inside our hearts and minds but also a real life journey in imitating the Jesus of the Scriptures in ‘Word and in Deed’. 

Sat.    … What are the ‘signposts’ to discipleship? They are accepting willingly the Cross in our lives, to live a simple lifestyle and to always serve and to put God and others first in our lives and a total detachment from worldly idols.

 

Prayer after the Daily Reflection.

Father, grant to us the grace to become the bearers of the ‘Light’ of Christ into the lives of those living in darkness, suffering and sadness. As humble disciples of our Lord and Saviour, may we be blessed to guide them towards true joy and happiness in the ‘Way, the Truth and the Life’ by our living examples.

This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Compliments: Bible Discussion Group.

Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale.

                “Discovering the Truth through God’s living Word”.

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