for Sunday, January 22, 2017
The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah and is the same one that is used at Midnight Mass for Christmas. We can hear the prophecy of the Savior to come. Great joy can be present in our world because God has sent a Savior and has freed us from all bondage and sin.
The second reading comes from the First Letter to the Corinthians and encourages us to work together. If Christ has come to free us from all bondage and sin, then we must all belong to Christ and there should be no divisions among us. Yet as we look about in our world today, we Christians have all kinds of divisions. Yes, in many ways we have less divisions and hatred among us than we had perhaps a 100 years ago or even 60 years ago, but we are still terribly divided. Saint Paul wants there to be no divisions among us, but that we be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
Part of the challenge of this Sunday is to work against divisions among us Christians, both with those who belong to other Christian denominations and with those who are alienated without our own Catholic Church.
The Gospel of Matthew today is at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus Christ. Matthew cites the portion of the Prophet Isaiah which we read as the first reading today and tells us that Jesus is the fulfillment of that prophecy. Many times we Christians forget that Jesus is the fulfillment of the whole of the Old Testament, the whole of Jewish Scripture. The more that we can understand the Old Testament, the more we can understand Jesus Himself.
Matthew tells us today of the call of Peter and Andrew and then the call of James and John. We can only imagine the call of Jesus. Why would these fishermen respond so readily to the call of Jesus? Why don't we respond as strongly to His call? He will free us from all bondage to sin if we let Him! He will help be united with one another and with all Christians, if we let Him.
My sisters and brothers, we are in Ordinary Time once more and we are ordinary followers of Christ. Jesus Himself invites us to become extraordinary and to give our lives completely to Him. This whole world can be transformed in the place of salvation if only we walk in the ways of Christ.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 9.1-4
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1.10-13, 17-18
Gospel: Matthew 4.12-23
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: