St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
1008 Maple Dr.
Webster, NY 14580
585-671-1100
Masses: Sat 5:00 pm
Sun 7:30; 9:00 (children's liturgy); 10:30 am
Weekdays 8:15 am
Reconciliation: Saturdays from 3:30-4:30 pm
Office Hours: M-Th 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Fri 9:00 to 12:00 pm
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
 
The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry 
THE PEOPLE WHO WALKED IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT

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 this Sunday, 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.

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.

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..

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

In our Epistle reading (1 Corinthians 1:10-13:17), St. Paul sought to end rivalries and division in Corinth be focusing on Christ as the true center and wisdom of the Church.

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.

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. 
  • Click Here for the full scripture readings for Sunday, January 22, 2017
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