Year A: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 4: 12-23
After all the dramas of the last few Gospels, today’s seems fairly tame. No angels. No supernatural signs. No heavenly voices. Just a man going back to his home territory to begin the ministry for which He was born.
And yet, Matthew - as always - sees this simple fact as having biblical echoes and quotes from the prophet Isaiah - the prophet of liberation. He saw Galilee as the land of darkness (the north Kingdom of Zebulun and Naphtali were the first to be conquered by the Assyrians armies) - the place where people walked in the shadow of death - the place where people would be the first to see the great light promised to them.
We heard similar words spoken on Christmas night - as we remembered the night when creation held its breath - and when light was given to the world.
The light is, of course, Jesus, but it has to be admitted not many people were aware of its shining among them.
Some were - and the Gospel goes on to recount how Jesus began to gather His disciples - calling people to follow Him.
They were busy about their daily work - and yet, there is something in Jesus that attracts them. Somehow they glimpse the light within - not perfectly - but enough for them to begin to make major decisions about how their lives are going to change.
Unlike most rabbis and teachers of the time, Jesus does not wait for His disciples to come to Him. He does not sit among the learned and clever and impress them with arguments and draw them into discipleship. Rather, He walks among the people and, where He sees “promise” He calls a new disciple to follow Him.
It is a radical call for some - to leave everything behind and follow Him.
It may mean leaving behind the promise of a steady income in a successful family business.
It may be things that hold you bound - as symbolised by the nets.
It can be any manner of thing - and will vary from one person to another.
Many people did not see the light - or hear the call.
Others saw it and sought to follow it - however imperfectly.
We too are people living in great darkness - in lands under the shadows of death.
Do we see the light - and hear the call?
And are we prepared to follow - however imperfectly - the path of a disciple of Jesus?
What does it mean for me?
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