The resounding message in today’s reading is Jesus as the Light and Salvation of the world in whom we should place all our trust. Psalm 26 expresses our assurance - The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?
In the 1st reading, Isaiah prophesies that the coming of the Messiah will bring light and joy to the world. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.” Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Our Lord Jesus Christ as recounted by the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The Gospel text states – Jesus went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light. Darkness in Sacred Scripture usually means not knowing God and His love. Christ illuminates the world with His Light with His message - Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This message is simply an invitation to conversion, to change the inner self, and return to a right relationship with God so one can be among those ushered into God’s kingdom. Repentance not merely involves contrition or an apology, but a change in direction, a change in behavior and a change in one's life. We see the extent of change that took place in the fishermen who became Jesus' disciples. After Jesus had appeared in their life, those fishermen radically and dramatically changed their direction. Matthew writes that as Jesus was walking by the sea, he saw some fishermen hard at work, and he called them to follow him. And they abandoned their boats and occupational commitments and followed Jesus.
As Christians and faithful followers of Our Lord, our vocation to follow Him entails that we be light bearers as well to radiate His light to others. To be Christ’s light-bearers, we must try to imitate and identify ourselves with Him, so that His Light will shine and illumine others through us by our life coherent with our faith. We must try to be united among us under the One God, One Faith, One Church, One Baptism which we have received from Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to spread the Good News. Like the harbor lamp that guides ships to shore, may our lights shine brightly before men.
By Deacon Mar Tano
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Reflection