God’s Word is Our Light

Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25
1Jn 3:22 – 4:6 / Ps 2:7-8,10-12

…on those dwelling in the land under the shadow of death a light has dawned…
-Isaiah

Jesus went all over Galilee
To heal the sick of body and soul.
We need to share in His ministry
If following Jesus is our goal.

When Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he withdrew to Galilee. He moved from Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in the land under the shadow of death a light has dawned.” From that time on Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Reflection

As John the Baptist had predicted – “He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30)- Jesus began to expand His ministry, just as John’s role began 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 town mates (Jn.4:44), 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 Good News 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 finally dawned upon them.

Like the people in Galilee, before Christ and His teachings came to our lives, we were virtually living in darkness. God must have called us when we joined this renewal community because we felt a great need to be reconciled to Him to put some meaning into our lives. We listened to His message, and only then realized the grave consequence of our sins. And with our community 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 only 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. St. Paul writes in the first reading: “…whatever we ask we shall receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what is acceptable to Him. His commandment is this, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and that we should love one another as He commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments remains in God, and God in him. And this is the proof that He remains in us: the Spirit that He has given us (1John 3:22-24).

We have discovered the great light of the Gospel of Jesus, and it is now directing our lives. Out of love, we must spread this light to others who are still sitting in darkness, and who are still unaware 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 life anew. May this new year be lived in Christ’s love and in His 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 the power of Your Spirit. Amen.

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