|The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry|
This could be called the "season of manifestation". In the past few Sundays, we have seen Christ manifested first, to the Gentile world (Maji) and then last Sunday to the Jewish world (via John the Baptist). And now , Jesus is revealed as the long awaited Davidic King prophesied about by Isaiah and others.
In our first reading (Isaiah 8:23-9:3), Isaiah wrote during a time of great duress as the northern tribes of Israel were being besieged by the Assyrians. In great confidence, Isaiah foretold of a new Davidic King who would bring "abundant joy and great rejoicing". This same passage is proclaimed every Christmas Eve during the night Mass, heralding the birth of the Christ child.
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.
In our Gospel reading (Matthew 4:12-23), we hear this same passage from Isaiah, now being fulfilled as Matthew described Jesus' return to the very same area decimated by the Assyrians so long ago, to begin his public ministry as the new Davidic King..
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
In our Epistle reading (1 Corinthians , St. Paul sought to end rivalries and division in Corinth be focusing on Christ as the true center and wisdom of the Church. )
Once again we see the ancient prophesies of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus. This revelation helps us see that God's plan of salvation and self-revelation has been ongoing since the beginning of creation. We are called to recognize it and cooperate with it - we pray for the grace.
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