3rd Sunday Ordinary Time
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: January 22, 2023
Two learned professors were discussing great thoughts on wisdom and the meaning of life. The first professor asked the second, “Henry tells me he is one of your students.” The second professor replied, “Well, Henry does attend most of my classes, but he is not one of my students.” I wonder if Jesus might say something similar about many of us Christians, that many of us are at church, but that few of us are real disciples.
We see some of the first disciples being called by Jesus. Peter, James, John, Andrew. They were out fishing, as this was their work. Very ordinary and simple people. They were called and we hear that they left everything to follow him. They became disciples of Jesus.
Today, Jesus continues to call ordinary people like us. We also need to let go and follow. To be disciples of Jesus. Disciples of Jesus are called to be instruments of God. What is that mission?
We see something about that mission in the reading from the Prophet Isaiah which is also used in the Gospel about John the Baptist. “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,” “and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” The mission of the church, the call of disciples of Jesus, is to bring light into the darkness found in our world. Where do we find darkness in our world today?
We see darkness in how we are treating our environment. Creation itself is falling into darkness in various ways. Pollution, extinction of species, climate change. The church is called to bring light, to be instruments of God caring for creation. In Genesis, human beings are called to be “stewards” of creation. Not to have control over creation, but to care for creation.
We see darkness in the reality of war. Seen clearly in the horror of the war in Ukraine. Also seen in the violence of terrorists in terrible acts like we saw last week when a Catholic priest in Nigeria was burned to death in his home. Seen often even in our families where there is division and brokenness. The church is called to bring light, to be instruments of God working for peace and healing among all peoples.
This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. How can we Christians be peacemakers in the world when we are unable to be united with our fellow Christians? Disciples of Jesus must share the desire of Jesus that we be one. We can only bring light fully into our world if we work for Christian unity.
Last week in the United States they celebrated Martin Luther King day. One of the great civil rights leaders. Many of those civil rights leaders in the 50’s and ’60s were imprisoned and even killed. The first disciples of Jesus were also often imprisoned and many of them died martyrs. Instruments of God will often face opposition when they are working for justice, peace, the dignity of the poor and marginalized.
Jesus needs disciples today. Disciples who are ready to follow him and be instruments of God in our world. To bring light into darkness. Today that includes bringing light to the care for creation, the struggle for peace, the efforts for Christian unity, to the work for the equality and dignity of all human beings.
Where to begin? Begin with one person, one member of your family, one friend, and one person in your neighbourhood. One person who is lonely, depressed, sick, or in need in some way. In some practical way bring light into the life of that person.
There are lots of Christians in our world, but how many disciples of Jesus are there?
Be instruments of God. Bring God’s light into the dark corners of our world.