Christ is one for all

Sunday readings in brief 3 A

Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalms 26(27); 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Mathew 4:12-23

Christ is one for all

Dear friends, today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. As explained in earlier reflections, this is the season to learn about and embrace the kingdom of God. Jesus is the teacher who refers to the prophets before him to consolidate God’s plan to save humanity in himself.

The first reading and the Gospel talk about the light that came to illuminate the people who were living in darkness. This light is Christ Jesus – God made man for the salvation of humanity. Darkness and Light are symbolically used to signify the burdens that weighed down the people and the lifting of those burdens respectively. The people of Israel lived in the darkness of slavery, uncertainty, corruption, injustice, and war. People lived in fear and anguish because of frequent interruptions of peace.

The main reason for this precarious life was ignorance of God’s law and the hard-headedness of some of their leaders who did not listen to the warnings of God’s prophet. During this time, there was collective responsibility whereby the entire community paid for the mistakes of a few. Even innocent people bore the consequences of the bad choices of their leaders. The poor were being oppressed without any possibility of ascending the social-economic ladder because of the caste system prevailing.

These poor had nothing left to hope for except for the prophecy of the Messiah who was to come. Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my help” is a lamentation by someone who was being treated unjustly and who wish to depart and live in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. There are many good and innocent people suffering today at the hands of oppressors who have no one to turn to for help. There are many men and women living in relationships full of both physical and psychological torture by their spouses or in-laws. There are many children living in very bad conditions because of the sour relationship between their parents.

Modern-day imposter prophets who purport to preach in the name of Jesus, unfortunately, cause some of these divisions. Many innocent faithful fall prey to these popularity-seeking overnight prophets. St. Paul scolds the people of Corinth for fueling division in the Church of Christ on the bases of adherence to this preacher or the other. Through a word from the family members of a faithful woman called Chloe, Paul came to learn about the divisions in Corinth. People were arguing about which preacher they belonged to among Paul, Apollos, and Cephas (Peter), who were all preaching in the name of Christ. Though Paul and Cephas did not agree on some issues about administration matters of the Church (see the Council of Jerusalem Acts 15), he however, sought to bring unity among the Corinthians arguing that Christ was one and not divided.

Sometimes many religious leaders forget in whose name they preach and let their personal differences and interests enter into the way of the Gospel. There are divisions everywhere among many Christian denominations because of disagreements between the leaders. Christians too for lack of leadership end up taking part with different factions adhering to and supporting one or the other making matters even worse. Today, we have hundreds of Christian denominations preaching the same Christ with almost directly opposing messages such that someone who is not a Christian may wonder if there is one Christ or many.

When Jesus called the first two pairs of disciples, he promised to make them fishers of men. He meant, to give them authority to bring salvation to people who had suffered for too long in the hands of oppressors some in the name of religion. Today, these fishers of men continue to fish men and women but not from anguish to salvation but vice versa. There are too many broken families today because one or the other member has been caught in the net of the so-called fishers of men. Neighbours do not greet each other because they belong to different fishers of men. The entire community is divided because different groups go to worship in different Churches.

Dear friends, the light of Christ is already made manifest to us. It is our individual responsibility to choose whether to remain in darkness or come out and see the light. This can only be done by seeking to know the true values of the kingdom of God preached by our Saviour Jesus Christ and his true apostles. Catechesis is not an option if one wishes to understand the values of the Kingdom. The Bible is a complex library of salvific writings that need wise interpretation.

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD (see also

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