light in darkness
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.