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Homily for third Sunday, ordinary tiHme year A.

25 Jan 2020, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Homily for third Sunday in ordinary time, year A

It is mostly attributed to St. Augustine to have said, “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” In other words, the Old Testament lies hidden in the New Testament, while the Old Testament is explained in the New Testament. We see the manifestation of that Augustinian statement in our readings this morning.

In our first reading, we hear of Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, the land beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations. He prophesied that those who walk in darkness had seen a great light – on them, light has shone.

When Isaiah made that prophetic statement, it may have sounded so confusing, concealed, and unrealistic to those who heard him. They may have questioned the authenticity of that prophecy because it did not take away the darkness surrounding them, just like many Christians today question God’s potency for the simple reason of the abundance of unresolved socio-economic challenges. However, Isaiah’s prophecy was revealed in the New Testament, as we see in our gospel passage this morning.

Over Seven-hundred years after Isaiah made that prophecy, the evangelist Matthew wrote that “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “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 a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness, and darkness cannot overcome it. He is our object of focus; he is the light that guilds our steps.

Many Christians get distracted by focusing on the “darkness” that seems to surround them, they focus on less important things, on the presenter of the word of God, and pay little or no attention to the word itself. That was what must have happened in the Church of Corinth. Paul came preaching the gospel of Christian freedom, freedom from the power of the law to live by grace. He was probably mistaken for a mere freedom fighter, he was mistaken for one who has come to fight to free them from the ‘Pharisaic burden’; they followed him and not Christ the light.

Some others claimed they belonged to Apollos who was an intelligent man, very eloquent in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and vast in scripture (Acts 18:24-26). He too was probably admired by a section of the believers for his eloquence and not the message. The same thing must have happened with Cephas, for some also said they belong to him. Cephas is an Aramaic translation of the name Peter, he too was probably followed for some tribal affiliation. Others said we belong to Christ.

The question is; who are you following? Are you following Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or Christ? Are you taking sides with humans or with God? Many Catholics get distracted when they hear any form of scandal in the Church, do not be distracted. Do not confuse the massagers with the message. Many tend to follow men and women “of God” rather than God himself. They are distracted to follow eloquence, dramatic performances, and thunderous voices than the message of Christ. I am not against eloquence or thunderous voices but we must not be distracted by them, remember that Christ is the light that shines in the darkness.

In our gospel passage this morning, Christ called Peter and his brother Andrew. He also called James and his brother John; follow me, he said to them, and they left everything and followed him. They followed the light of the world. Simon (Peter) and Andrew were casting their net when the Lord called them; they were walking, hopeful, and full of energy. James and his brother John were called while mending their nets; they may have walked without anything to show for it, they may have run into a problem, or were done with the day’s job and probably tired for they were mending their nets at the time. It doesn’t matter if we are walking, so full of energy and hope like Peter and Andrew, or that we ran into some problem with our nets, mending them like James and John. What matters is that the Lord is calling each of us by name to follow the light of truth to repentance, for the kingdom of God is close at hand.


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