Sunday, January 22, 2023 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A Readings: Isaiah 8:23 - 9:3, Psalm 27 “The Lord is my light and my salvation”, 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17, Matthew 4:12-23 or 4:12-17
My dear brothers and sisters, Pope Francis instituted the third Sunday in Ordinary time as “Sunday of the word of God. We hear in today's readings what it is like to live without light and what it is like to pass from the darkness and shadows of life to the light that shines like the splendor of salvation.
The prophet Isaiah pro-claims, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” And then Saint Matthew, the evangelist presents the context from which Jesus' preaching emerges as an announcement of the coming of light: “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.”
The two readings highlight how salvation is manifested and presented to us in history as a divine response to human reality. Darkness seems to dominate and reign in the existence of many people and the suffering may be impossible to escape. However, it is necessary to see the reality of the world’s situation from another perspective, with the eyes of faith.
The eyes of faith, open our hearts to the light of faith. This powerful light cannot come from ourselves; it comes from God. Faith is born from the encounter with the living God, who calls us and reveals his love to us, a love that precedes us and on which we can rely to be safe. The light of faith has everything to do with the goodness of God and our openness to receive his love and direct our lives through it. It is about entering into the divine light, because we have been invited to be in union with Christ, who is “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God”
For many people of the world, life is often surrounded by darkness and it is difficult to see a spiritual light that shines as a sign of hope. Living in the midst of the darkness of human suffering and facing the forces of death and sin, it is difficult to recognize and experience peace. In other words, they are not used to seeing the light when almost everything seems dark. Indeed, many people do not think about light, but ask the question, Where is God?
However, we will not find God if we think that he is not within history, if we think that he is not interested in human experience. God does not stray from the path of man and through Jesus Christ he has permanently approached humanity, because in the Incarnation, God has become human. It is a work that can only shine and illuminate the darkness of sin. It is about Jesus Christ, who is the divine light in person. May we experience his light and love, and our faith renewed as we encounter him in the Holy Scriptures.
May the Lord bless us in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD.