Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (a)

Today’s readings begin with the passage from Isaiah that we proclaim at the Christmas Midnight Mass: the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light[1], and the Gospel repeats this reading, but immediately adds, From that moment Jesus began his preaching[2].

I was thinking about how this passage relates to our young people living in a world where at times they have to struggle to survive.

There is certainly a great deal of darkness in our world. We all run into people who are liars and cheats. Their selfishness affects us all. There are people who keep the world in darkness because they are users, particularly in the area of love, or for them, basically, the area of lust. I hope and pray that this has never happens to any of you who read this no matter what your age, but the fact is that there are people who say, “I love you,” but who do not have the slightest clue as to what love is. These are the people who jump out of a relationship, run from it, when they realize they have to sacrifice themselves for the relationship. For them the crucifix is a piece of jewelry, not a reminder of how a Christian loves. That person who used you by saying, “I love you,” and then dumped you or forced you to dump him or her when you said, “No,” is the same person who will run from a marriage when the commitment is too demanding, or, sometimes, demanding in any way at all.

I can go on and on with the negatives, but bring them up to emphasize this point: We are not these people. We are not the people of darkness. We are people of light. We are not condemned to live as liars, cheats or users, or whatever. We have seen a great light.

Sometimes a person will say to me, “I don’t know what to do. Should I just keep going out with him or her or should I break up? I’m in the dark here.”
No, you are not in the dark. Nor am I. We are not the people living in the land of shadows. We are the people of light. We have been enlightened by Christ. We have to base our decisions on the Light of Christ that glows within us. He comes into our lives, and He changes our lives in such a fundamental way that we have no choice but to bring His light to others.

“I don’t know what to do.” Sure you do. Do that which adds light to the world, not that which is just part of its darkness. Sure, it may hurt to break a relationship that is going bad. No matter how much any decision might cost us, we will always be happy with ourselves when our choices are determined by the Light of the Lord.

Have you ever seen the stars on a clear night when you are far away in some remote place? Well, once yours eyes adjust, we realize that so many stars fill the sky that it seems to be on fire. It is wonderful. It might be night around us, but we are not in the dark. We are in starlight. Here is another stellar reality: We are the stars in God’s sky, every one of us. And just as each star shines light on the world, every one of us is necessary to illumine the world with His Light.

Each one of us is not just one of billions of people. Each of us is special. We have the same value of the blood of Christ. Every single one of us is a star. We have been called by Christ personally to enlighten the world. If we live in His Light, we will bring His Light to others.

I want to conclude with simple maxim from Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta: “Love Jesus, Live with Jesus, and you will live for Jesus.”

[1] 9:2.
[2] Sunday 23rd January, 2011, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Ss TIMOTHY & TITUS. Readings: Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Ps 26(27):1, 4, 13-14. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17. Matthew 4:12-23.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris