Finding Light In The Word Of God
3rd Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year A
Fr. Mark Gatto
Date Preached: January 26, 2020
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Light and darkness. We take light for granted until electricity goes out in the middle of the night. In total darkness we cannot see. We cannot move around safely. We would need a flashlight or some source to provide us with light to see.
This is also true spiritually, humanly speaking. If we do not have light within then we human beings easily lose our way, we cannot see clearly.
God is light, Jesus is the light of God in our world. What is it that we see more clearly in the light of Jesus? Two things that we see more clearly in the light of Jesus.
First. we see the truth about ourselves. This is very hard for us to do. We are not very honest with ourselves, we do not want to see how I need to change.
Second, we see more clearly the needs of others. Again, at times we are very self focused, we do not see the needs of people around us, family, friends, and so on.
When we allow Jesus to be light within us we will see the truth about ourselves and how we need to change and we will see more clearly the needs of others around us and how we can be there for them.
The problem is that it is not enough just to say that we are Christians. If I have a flashlight, but do not have batteries or do not turn it on, it will not help at all. If we call ourselves Christians, but do not allow Jesus to guide our lives, then we will stay in darkness. We need to turn on our faith, turn on the light that Jesus provides. This can be done in a faithful consistent life of prayer, it can be done in celebrating the Sacraments faithfully.
But on this Third Sunday of Ordinary Time we are celebrating Bible Sunday. Pope Francis has asked all Catholics to focus on the Bible this Sunday. We are all called to enter into the Bible again in a deeper way. To allow the light of Jesus to come to us through the Bible.
As Catholics we engage in the Word of God each time we celebrate the Sacraments. Each Sunday we have readings from the Bible that we share. We have a Lectionary that designates readings for each Sunday over a 3 year cycle. This year we are in Year A that has a special focus on the Gospel of Matthew.
Each church throughout the world will be listening to these same readings that we just heard. A good preparation for coming to Mass on Sunday is to read, study, reflect on the Scripture readings for that coming Sunday. Take time to pray with the Gospel that you will hear when you come to Mass on Sunday.
I do not have time to give a course on how we as Catholics understand the Bible. But, I want to give a few thoughts. First, The Bible is not a book. It is a library. It has many types of literature, poetry, history, gospels, parables, letters, etc. The Bible is not magic. You cannot just open it up randomly and read one line and know what God wants.
In fact, the Bible has often been misunderstood throughout history, interpreted in unhealthy ways. People have used the Bible to justify slavery, to justify racism, to support sexism, to justify the exploitation of the poor, and so on.
For this reason we need to read the Bible in union with the Church, we need to read it as a whole so that all of it is seen in the light of the Gospels of Jesus.
I encourage you to get yourself a good Catholic Bible, perhaps a Study Bible which has notes and articles to explain various books.
When you are reading and praying with the Bible, let the light of God challenge you. What does it say to you? How does it challenge you? What do you see more clearly about yourself, perhaps a call to change? How does it help you to see the needs of people around you in a different way?
Jesus is the light of God. Jesus brings light to help us see more clearly as we walk through this life. To see more clearly the truth about myself. To see more clearly the needs of people around me.
Like a flashlight, this light of God needs to be turned on. One way is through entering into the Bible, the Word of God. All of us are encouraged to enter the Bible again, to enter it more deeply. There we can find a light to guide us, to challenge us, to help us see more clearly even in the darkness of of this world.
The Word Of God – Fr. Mark
Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: Jan 28, 2018
Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching. What would it have been like to be there in that synagogue as Jesus was teaching. To see him, to hear him. How he sounded, what he taught. That would be special to actually be in that place where Jesus is present teaching. Sometimes we think about how special it must have been for those people alive at that time to be there.
But every time we as Catholics come to celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus is present Sacramentally. In the Assembly gathered, all of you who are the body of Christ. In the priest, who is the sacramental presence of Jesus presiding. In the bread and wine that becomes the real presence of Jesus for us. And in the Word of God proclaimed in this Mass, Jesus is present to us, speaking to us. Today we are able to see and hear Jesus if we pay attention.
This Sunday our Diocese of Hamilton is having its First Annual Bible Sunday. Bishop Crosby has asked us all to reflect on the Scriptures and to encourage us to pray daily with the Bible. There is a bookmark to pick up and bring home to place in your Bible. It gives a little prayer to use before and after reading the Bible and a simple method for praying with Scripture.
Each time we listen to the Word of God at Mass, each time we read the bible at home, we are to listen as though Jesus is there teaching as he was in that synagogue in today’s Gospel. In our Psalm today we sang, “O that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord.”
A priest told me a story of a young woman who was in the RCIA preparing to become Catholic. She was so excited about what she was coming to learn about Jesus. She turned to the priest and asked him, what do you still want to learn about Jesus? He responded: “I would like to learn what was in the heart of Jesus.”
Each time we come to church and listen to the Word of God proclaimed, each time we sit down quietly and read the Gospels at home, we should listen like we are there in a room where Jesus is teaching. Spend time listening to Jesus, come to know him more deeply. St. Jerome once said that ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. ec
This week I visited one of our shut ins who is 93 years old. She is no longer able to get to Mass. At a point she showed me a booklet she receives that has the daily Scripture readings for Mass. She told me that she is so happy to start receiving this because it really has helped her grow in her faith. I hope I am still growing in my faith when I am 93 years old!
Yes, it would have been special to be in that synagogue as Jesus came in to teach. But, we can be in the presence of Jesus teaching, each time we come to Mass and listen attentively to the Word of God proclaimed. We can be in the presence of Jesus teaching, each time we sit quietly reading the Scriptures with our hearts open listening to the voice of the Lord.