A shorter version of this was published in my parish bulletin this past week, I was asked to write a piece reflecting upon one of the scripture readings for the month. I think it might be helpful considering the upcoming inauguration and the feelings that many have about our incoming President. I can only hope that the transfer of power is peaceful and dignified, as it always has been here is this great country we are privileged to call home. I pray for our new President, that he become wiser and more prudent, but also that he be supported in his efforts because his success is our success.
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles the people who sat in darkness have seen great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” (Is 9:1-3)
Isaiah is a favorite prophet of mine. Aside from the prose being beautiful he’s just so old school and I love that about him. No nonsense about Isaiah at all, he believes wholeheartedly and he is hard pressed to see why anyone would question his devotion. His prophecies are also just so filled with awe at the majesty of God that you can’t help but be humbled by them and his way of expressing himself. I think he would have been a good guy with whom to hang out and have a beer.
This particular prophecy is referenced this month in the Gospel of Matthew (4:12-23) when Jesus withdrew to Galilee after John the Baptist had been arrested. He then began His ministry by calling upon Peter, James and John to follow him and become fishers of men. Matthew quotes the prophet here, calling Jesus the Light and thereby proclaiming that God had begun His saving work here on earth.
“the light has dawned”
I love the image of light that we find throughout all of scripture. Like many women I pay a lot of attention to the light in my home. Candles, dimmer switches, twinkle lights around the windows, all directed toward highlighting what is lovely to look at in my home and leaving what is not so nice (I have seven kids and an unruly dog, there is plenty of ugly here) in shadow. God, knowing how we are geared toward beauty (because that’s how we were created), gives us His Son, the light, who will dispel darkness, shadow, and that which is ugly. Sin and it’s inherent ugliness cannot prevail against the light of the Son and the beautiful truth he brings.
“the people who have sat in darkness, have seen a great light”
Think of the great joy of those three men who were called, and exercising their own wills, who followed and shared in God’s goodness in such a profound and intimate way. There were trials and suffering to come, but in those early days to sit at the feet of Christ and listen to Him, to assist him, to eat and drink with him. What joy! If only we could have that now.
We can. Not only can we, we should. Jesus, with us so beautifully and perfectly in the Eucharist, here to sustain and strengthen us in our own mission to bring light to the world. He is there all day everyday calling out for us to follow Him, to sit at his feet and be part of His mission to dispel the darkness.
“the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”
The world is pretty dark right now. I think we have a tendency to think our times are the worst times, and I’m pretty sure for most of us they aren’t. We have homes, food and people who love us, but there are those who don’t have these things or those who suffer in less obvious ways. Can we, strengthened by Our Lord and Savior within us go forth and be the Light of Christ for them? We can, we should.
“Follow me” He said, and immediately they left the boat and their father and they followed (Matthew 4:22). And now, here in 2017 He’s still calling us, each of us, from His Word and from the tabernacle. Will you go?