Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


By Maria di Paolo

Deep darkness will make way for a great light, gloom and anguish for a glorious way by the sea, writes the prophet Isaiah. Matthew’s Gospel quotes this same text just before Jesus calls his first disciples, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John, saying, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.”  The four leave their work and families and join with Jesus in his mission as he teaches and proclaims the Good News.  A simple reading of these two short excerpts side by side may lead us to think, “Well that’s it! We have the answer and it is Jesus.  He is the light and we don’t really need to do much more work!”  But we know that things aren’t that simple.  We know that Peter and the disciples often don’t get things right.

And in the second reading, only a couple of decades after the Jesus’ death and resurrection, St. Paul is writing to a small Christian community in Corinth that is riven by quarrels amongst its members, asking them: “Has Christ been divided?”  Who, he asks the Corinthians, do you belong to?  That community, and others like it, learned from him and from each other and grew and flourished and prepared the way for all the generations that followed.

Like Peter and the disciples, and like the community in Corinth, we often don’t “get it.”  We often don’t quite see the light, but we build on what we learn from our parents and families, from our friends and teachers and neighbours and from our own life experience and then we do see the light, and then we pass that insight on to someone else.  For the Church, and for ourselves, the journey from darkness into light is ongoing and never ceases.