3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s first reading is quoted in today’s Gospel.  In his Gospel, Saint Matthew again and again shows how Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfills the Old Testament promises made by God.  Today’s first reading describes an era of freedom and of joy which will be ushered in by the promised Messiah.  The Gospel quotes Isaiah verbatim in order to say that Jesus Christ is that promised Light: Jesus is the long-awaited Redeemer.  Jesus came into the world to show us the way to the Father and to dispel the darkness of sin and set us free.

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World: He fully reveals God to us.  The only way that we can know God is by Him revealing Himself to us.  Philosophers can make clever arguments based on reason for why God must exist but they cannot tell you Who God IS.  We cannot know God or be in relationship with Him unless He reveals Himself to us.  The relationship that we have with God did not originate from us: we did not choose God, He chose us.  Through Jesus Christ God definitively revealed Himself to the world and through the Church, through the Scriptures, and through our own personal prayer God continues to reveal Himself to each one of us.  In order for us to deepen our relationship with God we have to get to know Him: we have to learn about Him through reading Sacred Scripture and learning about the Teachings of His Church; we have to spend time talking and listening to God in prayer.

Jesus is the Light of the World: He shows us the way to the Father, but we have to walk in the way that He reveals to us.  Jesus came to free us from sin, but we still have a free will.  Our Lord shows us the way to the Father and wants to set us free, but we have to accept His offer of freedom.  We have to follow Christ, we have to give Him our hearts, we have to turn away from sin and choose to faithfully follow Him each and every day.  We became sons and daughters of God through our Baptism, but every moment of every day we are faced with choices: we are free to choose God or we can turn our backs on God through sin.  Every day Our Lord calls us to follow after Him.

We are faced with continual choices and those choices are not always easy.  The culture in which we live is full of darkness; our culture is full of things that attempt to draw us away from our God.  We live in a culture that sees the freedom that Jesus offers as slavery.  We have to remember that temptation is a lie; temptation tells us that if we give in to the sin we will be happy; but sin never makes us truly happy: sin always leaves us empty and enslaves us.

Jesus Christ came to set us free from slavery to sin.  The freedom that Jesus Christ offers is true freedom: freedom from sin and that freedom brings abundant joy with it, but we have to choose it.  We have to really turn away from sin; we have to follow Christ faithfully each and every day.

Jesus offers us freedom and calls us to be His disciples (or followers) He also calls us to share that light that we receive with others.  Jesus is the Light of the World, but He also tells His disciples that they are to be light in the world as well.  Jesus fully reveals the Father to us and we are called to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the world: both in our words and in our actions.  We are called to reflect the Light of Jesus Christ to those whom we encounter in the world so that they too can experience the freedom that Our Lord wants to give to them.

Let us continue to root sin out of our hearts that we may live in the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.  May God give us the strength and the courage that we need to be His faithful witnesses that we may bring light to those who are in so great a need of it.  Lord Jesus Christ, help us to faithfully follow You in all that we do.  May Your light shine through us, Lord, that we may be light in the world as You call us to be.  Amen.