Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Isaiah 8:23-9:3
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Matthew 4:12-23

Committed Followers

Today Matthew’s Gospel describes the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. After Jesus heard about John the Baptist’s arrest, he moves to the northern region of 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.”  Matthew wants to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies given to the people of Israel, and he refers to Isaiah to do so. When Jesus begins to preach in Galilee, Matthew points to his ministry as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, proof that Jesus is the Messiah. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As his ministry begins, Jesus knows that he needs helpers so Jesus calls his first disciples, Peter and Andrew. Soon after, he calls James and John. All four men were fishermen and they left their nets and boats behind to follow Jesus. Other than their trade we know nothing about these men. What was it about Jesus that they would drop everything to follow him? Whatever they saw or heard about Jesus was enough to be with him.

We call ourselves Christians, followers of Jesus. What is it that draws us to him? Are we willing to follow the example of those first four disciples and show by our actions that we are committed followers? Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians tells us one way to show our discipleship. “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.” This is a far cry from what we see and hear in some so-called Christians today. May we truly be among those who are faithful and committed to the message of Jesus.

Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee. He inaugurates the kingdom with his teaching, preaching and healing. His words and actions are a sign that the kingdom was present then and is now. 

What signs of the kingdom have you seen and experienced?

In what ways can you contribute to the kingdom of God in the here and now?

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