Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 22, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Is 8:23-9:3 / Ps 27 / 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 / Mt 4:12-23
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Today is once again the first day of the rest of our lives. Not only our life here on earth, but our lives that will never end.
Patricia St. John, who has been described as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary faith, spent most of her life serving people in the neediest places in the world. The magazine Our Daily Bread related that several years ago she was in Sudan, when war refugees flooded that country.
In those times, they had suffered terribly and had lost everything. Yet, she noticed that those who were Christians still gave thanks to God. She said that she stood one night in a crowded little Sudanese church, listening to those uprooted believers singing joyfully. Suddenly, a life changing insight crossed her mind and she said to herself, we would have changed their circumstances but it would be beyond our power to change them. She realized that God does not always lift people out of a situation. He does not take them out of darkness – He becomes the light in the darkness.
Her story is a reflection of God’s words in today’s Gospel from Matthew. They tell us the good news that, “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light. On those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.” The Lord Jesus, who is referred to as the Light of the Ancient Tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali, and the source of courage and strength of the Christians in Sudan in Patricia St. John’s story, continues to give illumination to all of us – His followers today. He is certainly the guiding light of the Christians in some parts of the world who are being persecuted for their faith. The fact that they don’t waver tells us that the light of Christ in their lives is always more powerful than the forces of darkness around them.
The Lord Jesus said, in chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, “I am the Light of the World, whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness.”