January 26, 2020
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology
click here for photo and information about the writer

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 67

Isaiah 8:23--9:3
Psalms 24:1, 4, 13-14
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Matthew 4:12-23 or
Matthew 4:12-17

Praying Ordinary Time

Praying As We Age

Pope Francis on instituting this Sunday as
"Sunday of the Word of God"

The readings for today shed light on my personal theme for 2020, which is to “look for the light” in my life and to better focus the light of Christ for others to see.  I have always loved the passage where Isaiah says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” These days, I am acutely aware of the many ways in which people experience despair: personally, professionally, and politically.  It can be a huge burden to be open to the pain of others in our lives, as well as the pain of all humanity.  But we can take on the big task of helping to dispel the darkness with the light of Christ.  In fact, we must.  It is the call to discipleship for each of us who experience that light to share it in our private and public relationships with others.

Now, it is not our job to solve all those problems, but rather to shed the light of Christ on them so that people will have greater insights into all these problems.  Still, sharing that light can be a daunting task at every level.  But why should we be afraid?    The Psalmist sings, “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” with joy, hope, and courage.  The Lord is our refuge, so why should we fear?  In-the-midst of a world that holds great gloom and despair, we can focus instead on the bounty of the Lord in our lives and the lives of others.

Yet, there is difficulty ahead, reminds Paul, in focusing the light of Christ.  Well we know that it is so easy to take different positions in the way we think about how our problems should be solved, personally, professionally, and politically.  Paul reminds us that it is not about the wisdom of human eloquence.  It is about the humility of the cross.   That is helpful, but what helps me most to focus on the light of Christ today are Matthew’s focus on what Jesus proclaimed regarding living in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus was about healing diseases.  In my experience, the greatest disease we have in our world today is the disease of hate.  It cuts through families, communities, and nations.  It has placed the world in great darkness.

Jesus understands this.  He knows our darkness and how much it brings us to despair and death.  He calls us to repent, or turn away, to focus away from the darkness and to focus on the light, which is the kingdom of heaven in our midst.  Look for the light!  In this new year, I pray that we will draw on the courage of our faith to share the Gospel light of Christ with others.  We can share the good news that the kingdom of heaven is indeed at hand!

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