Skip to main content

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Discernment.  It’s a word we use when we need to carefully and prayerfully come to a life-altering decision.  Often this term is used for those who are contemplating a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life, but the truth is we the laity are faced with discernments of our own.  We are regularly faced with decisions about school, majors, job opportunities and relationships that can alter the course of our lives.  This week’s readings focus on our need for discernment:


Isaiah 8:23-9:3-1
Psalm 27-1, 4, 13-14
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Mathew 4:12-23

Our first reading comes from early Isaiah.  The Northern Kingdom of Israel has fallen to the Assyrians, and the people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah fear they are next.  But over some time a new regime has taken has hold in the former lands of Israel, and Isaiah sees this as a useful example of God’s mercy.  Lands that were in anguish and darkness now “have seen a great light.”  This light shines from a land that now has a large non-Israelite (Gentile) population, and Isaiah hopes this will convince his fellow Israelites in the South that one only needs to put their trust in the Lord.  By looking at the lessons of the past and the grace of the present, one can discern that, as our Psalm sings, that “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

These very same words from Isaiah also appear in our Gospel from Matthew.  Jesus has been discerning his own mission.  He’s been baptized by John and has been tempted by the devil in the desert.  He knows it’s time to begin his ministry, but where and how?  Jesus learns that John has been arrested, so it would seem Jerusalem is no longer a safe, so he goes to Galilee.  Why Galilee?  First, it’s sufficiently far enough away from Jerusalem (some 65-75 miles north).  Second, it’s not far from his family home in Nazareth.  Third and most importantly to Matthew’s readers, it fulfills the prophecy from Isaiah, which we heard in our first reading, and hear again in our Gospel… that this great light will rise from Zebulun and Naphtali… what we know in Jesus’ time as the land of Galilee.  So that gives Jesus the where… but how will he deliver his message.  He’s going to need help, so we next see Jesus gathering his first Apostles… the brothers Simon (Peter) and Andrew, along with James and his brother John.

Our second reading continues our study of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians.  It is apparent that the community is becoming divided with different factions claiming allegiance to different leaders.  Here Paul reminds them that it was in Jesus in whom they were baptized.  It was through Jesus’ suffering on the cross that brought us to salvation.  Therefore, regardless of any other internal conflicts or politics, they have made a commitment to Christ, and that is what binds us together as a community.

Final Thoughts:
Discernment and vocation go hand in hand.  A vocation is much more than a job or a career, it is taking on a particular way of life.  Something that needs to be carefully discerned because once you’ve made the choice, there’s no turning back.  This is why we so often relate the term “vocation” to someone discerning a calling to the priesthood or the religious life.  In those choices we can easily see how those decisions can impact someone’s life.  But a vocation is not just a call to the priesthood or the religious life.  It is a way of forming one’s daily thoughts and actions to the Gospel.  It is a decision that every Christian must discern…  deciding for ourselves how best to fulfill our calling to be followers of Christ.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…

3rd Sunday of Easter

Easter is about revelation!  On Easter Sunday we revealed that the tomb was found empty.  Last week Jesus revealed himself to the Apostles in the upper room, reminding us that “Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.”  This Third Sunday of Easter, Jesus is revealed through the breaking of the Bread.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles we have Peter, discovering his voice and standing before all of Jerusalem giving witness about who Jesus was and what happened there.  It’s both a reminder to those present who also witnessed these events, and a much necessary explanation for those who (like us) were not there (especially Luke’s primarily Gentile audience).  The heart of Peter’s message reminds us that this messiah was killed by his own people, but through that act, as prophesied by their greatest king, David, has been raised by God, and sends his Ho…