Is 8:23-9:3; Cor 1:10-13, 17; Mt 4:12-23
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Some tourists were visiting a famous giant cave in New Mexico (Carlsbad Caverns). While they were below ground in the giant cave, the lights went off. Among the trapped in the darkness were two children: an eight-year old boy and his 5 year old sister. The situation was scary, especially for children. Suddenly the little girl began to cry. Then her 8 year old brother consoled her saying, “Don’t worry Amy. There is a man up there who knows how to turn the lights on again…”
That story is a beautiful illustration of the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading. It is the same prophesy Mathew applies to the coming of Jesus in today’s gospel: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone”. Indeed, before the coming of Jesus, the world was dark and scary. It was just like the giant cave after the lights went off.
The darkness was so great and so scary that many people began to cry. Into the midst of this terrifying situation came the reassuring voice of the Isaiah. The prophet promised the people that a great light soon appear to take away the darkness. And Isaiah’s promise reached fulfillment in the coming of Jesus.
What happened to Israel as a nation happens to each one of us individually. In other words, there are times in our lives when the light goes out and we are left in darkness. There are times in our lives when the light go out, leaving us standing in darkness like a frightened 5 year old. We all have experienced the hours of darkness such as: the death of a life long spouse, an unexpected rejection by a loved one, a smashed dream of business success or the loss of good health, all these can throw us into a temporary darkness. At times like this we need to know that there is some one up there who knows how to turn the lights on again.
Christ is that light, a light that illumines the shadows of our hearts with the radiance of his splendor, guiding us to travel safely through rough storms of trails and troubles, until we have made the harbor of peace and bliss.
It is true that the light of Christ first shone in Galilee but it was meant to bring light to every one who comes into the world. Hence Jesus chose some to be his apostles telling them: “come after me, and I will make you fishers of men”. ‘Fishers of men’ is not just a metaphor but a mission, a mission to bring the light of Christ to cover the earth, as water covers the channels of the deep, to carry faith to the doubting, hope to the fearful, strength to the weak and comfort to the mourners. It is a mission entrusted not just to the apostles, bishops, and priests but also to the laity who serve in the church as altar servers, readers, extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist, and choir members, as well as to those who serve outside it, such as the parish pastoral councils, the teachers, the catechists, parents etc. In fact, all baptized and confirmed are called to be fishers for Christ.
The work of the radium is to observe light and release it in darkness. On the day of our baptism we have received the light of Christ. Now it is our turn to share that light with others. Some times we give excuses saying, “I am too busy”. Well, Jesus didn’t call the lazy but people who were busy. Peter and his brother Andrew were not having a glass of wine and enjoying the sun shine on the beach of Galilee but they were busy casting a net into to the sea when Jesus called them. James and his brother John, they were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Mathew as a tax collector was busy. They could have said, “I am too busy, I can not come with you” but they didn’t. Instead we read, “at once they left their nets and followed him”.
Can you as a parent give 10/15 minutes at least to teach catechism for your children at home daily? Teach them prayers, give them faith formation? Can we be at the service of the faith community when there is a need? Can you find some time to talk to someone who needs your consoling and encouraging words? I really want to make our community as a community of faith, community of love, a community of joy and a community of service.