Reading 1 Is 8:23—9:3
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.
Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
Light has come for those in darkness and gloom. How many times a day do I feel as if I’m walking through the desert of darkness and feely gloomy. Life is hard, and there will be many issues, but we do not have a choice any longer. We have to choose happiness and the light. Shying away from it is a sin because staying in the dark would be rejecting God. The Light can help give us direction and fuel the hope that may have been lost. I feel as though I am wandering and cannot find a way, but our path is lit now.
Joy and rejoicing as at harvest. I have the image in my head. I think of the people that finally get to harvest what they have been working so hard to produce. This is because their burdens were smashed. Imagine that. Everything that weighed you down was just lifted. The feeling of relief, the gratitude. Set free and lifted. We just need to allow Him to break the chains and not hold back once He takes our burdens away.
Reading 2 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
How many things divide the human race? Religion, politics, sports teams, nationalities, etc. We could be so much more advanced and could have helped so many people on this earth if there was unity. So much time is wasted on proving yourself right and arguing rather than agreeing and moving forward. Brothers won’t talk to sisters due to voting for a different candidate or various differing opinions. If everyone focused on following Christ in his own area, the world would be a better place. This is the mindset and purpose we all could have. Picture a world where each person was trying to live like Christ and trying to bring Christ out in everyone she met. The world would be filled with people that wanted to help and love rather than being divided and hostile. This does not mean people lose their originality and individuality; God want us to be unique and keep our own qualities. He uses each of us in our way on our own path.
The cross of Christ should never be emptied of its meaning. I wondered why and how could it ever be emptied. It is such a bad thought. The cross is so big and so meaningful. It has saved an infinite number of souls and represents freedom. The cross, although used to murder our Savior, is now a symbol of life. The cross is the reason I am alive, the reason any of us are breathing. The cross has my sins, burdens, failures, and flaws nailed to it, yet I have emptied the cross of Christ of its meaning. Not only have I emptied it, but I have ignored it. The meaning of the cross is emptied when we do not accept God’s saving power and grace. We say His sacrifice was not good enough and reject His hand reaching out to us. We say we want more than the cross, and how dare we because that was the most selfless sacrifice. We should look at the cross and feel changed, brand new, and refreshed. There is nothing else we should want.
Gospel MT 4:12-23
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
I am always amazed when I hear this how fast they followed Jesus. They left their father, life, and everything at home to follow Him. There was no hesitation, no doubt, no questioning. I envy how trusting they are of Jesus when I cannot even follow simple calls without running them through my head several times and deciding. I want to live a life that is fearless and directly following the Lord. This shows how much of a priority Jesus was to them by giving everything up. Can I say I give up everything to answer His call…family? friends? social life? work? school? The yes to Jesus has to be immediate. It’s similar to when you ask someone to hang out but they have to wait and see if anything better comes along first. Jesus wants to be #1 in our lives, and there are many things people place ahead of Him. If Jesus asked you to drop everything right now to follow Him, would you? If you can’t answer that yet, is what you’re living for worth dying for?