The Light of God’s Word

Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25
1Jn.3:22—4:6 / Psa 2

…the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.
(Matthew 4:16)

Lord, let Your light shine upon us
To help us make Your Word be known;
As we bring more souls to Jesus,
Let no none among us walk alone.

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth He went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles –- the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time on, Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Reflection

As St. John the Baptist had predicted — “He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30) — Jesus began to expand His ministry as John’s role started to diminish. John was the harbinger of the Messiah, but his star must fade first before the Lord’s would shine. “He moved from Nazareth to make His home in Capernaum by the sea” because He was rejected by His own townsmen (Jn.4:44- A prophet has no honor in his native place), and to fulfill scriptures: “The coastlands will wait for His teaching” (Isa.42:4). Before Jesus came to Galilee, the people there were in darkness, because the Gospel had not yet been preached to them. His preaching of repentance, coupled with healings of all kinds of disease and affliction was the great light that had dawned upon them.

Before Christ and His teachings came into our lives, we were still in darkness. When we joined the BCBP community it was because we felt a great need to be reconciled with God once again, to put some meaning into our lives. We listened to His message, and learned to be truly penitent of our sins. And with our support group to help us, we found true peace of mind and soul. Jesus healed us, just as He did the thousands in Capernaum in Galilee. But our healing was just the beginning. After the Spirit tested and strengthened our commitment, we found that it was not only for our renewal that the Lord had called us; He was commissioning us into His service, in order to follow Him perfectly.

We have discovered the great light of the Gospel of Jesus, and it is now directing our lives. If we are to follow Him, we must spread this light to others who are still sitting in the darkness of sin, and who are still not aware of their need for repentance. This was and still is the message of Isaiah and the prophets of old, of John the Baptist, and of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is the vital message that all must heed to start the year right: Repent of all sinful ways of the past in order to start anew. May we live this new year in Christ’s eternal light.

Loving Father, we look back in repentance and look forward in hope, knowing that You have forgiven our sins as we strive to follow Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ in all His teachings. Bless our new year with a new sense of purpose in the power of Your Spirit. Amen.

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