Gospel Reflection: Third Sunday In Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

JANUARY 22, 2017

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

ALLELUIA

Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom, and

cured every disease among the people.

ALLELUIA

 

A READING FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST.  MATTHEW 4: 12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.  He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. 

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.  He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

 

REFLECTION

In this Sunday’s Gospel according to Saint Matthew, the Church clearly proclaims that Jesus Christ and His ministry is the explicit and dramatic fulfillment of the prophecy of the Prophet Isaiah, as we heard in the First Reading:

          The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, the physical manifestation of God, the Eternal Light!  The darkness of sin and death are dispelled by the radiant merciful light of God through His Son, Jesus Christ: He went around …  teaching …  proclaiming the gospel … curing every disease and illness among the people.

As the public ministry of John the Baptist was drawing to a close, Jesus, the one identified by John last week as the Lamb of God, now begins His public and activity ministry.  The Lamb of God is to be sacrificed so that the healing and merciful power of God may explode in our midst.  In a similar way, Saint Luke’s Gospel describes Jesus and His ministry as: the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high (who) will break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:  )  Indeed the light proclaimed at Christmas now becomes manifest in the words and actions of Jesus.

The Gospel defines the action of God, and conversely identifies our role and responsibility.  We cannot heal or save ourselves; we cannot merit our own salvation!  Jesus declares explicitly what we are to do: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!  The Kingdom of God is established by God Himself.  God alone brings about the necessary light, healing and forgiveness for humanity’s salvation!  People of every age are to open themselves to this saving power.  Each of us is to embrace what God desires to give us — eternal light and life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

In such simplicity, Jesus begins to invite humanity one by one into His loving embrace.  First, He calls Simon, Peter and then his brother Andrew.  Next, He summons James and his brother John.  Four ordinary men — not the rich and the famous, just common, hard-working fishermen.   The wisdom of God always begins with the small and simple, the poor and lowly.  God will build up His kingdom upon this unsophisticated foundation, these sea-shore rocks.  He called them …. Come after me.

Like a magnet that draws to itself metal, Jesus drew these first of many to Himself to grace them with the light and life of God’s Kingdom.  This story testifies that all are called, drawn to Jesus regardless of one’s stature, wealth, or fame.  In fact, God enjoys most making the small, great; the little, big; and the simple, wise!  It is in this way that no one can claim he or she has done it on their own!

And yet, the wisdom of God is greater still.  Not only does He call the small, but He enlists them into His saving work; Jesus invites us into ministry with Him for the salvation of the world: Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.

What an incredible statement that God, the all-powerful wants us to help Him; that God, the all merciful wants us to extend His mercy to the world!  Those that He calls He dignifies with the mantel of ministry for others.    It is no wonder that the first disciples left their nets, boat and father to follow Him.   May God so touch our hearts that we would be made willing to leave all to follow him … proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom!

 

Encountering the Divine Physician, Jesus Christ (St. Luke 5: 17-26)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

 

 

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