We read about darkness, deep shadow and oppression in Isaiah; factions, jealousies and rivalries tearing the Corinthian Christians apart; and in the Gospel her hear about the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus’ need to withdraw from danger and people suffering from all kinds of disease and sickness.
Reflecting on this morning’s Mass Readings one can surmise that the world of Isaiah, Paul and Matthew was not too different from the world in which we live.
Yet in the midst of all this darkness, oppression, uncertainty and sin Jesus proclaims the Good News to us as much as to the people of
– inviting us to repent, to have a change of heart!
Peter, Andrew, James and John must have experienced the transforming power of Jesus’ love and responded to his invitation to repent and have a change of heart in order to be ready to respond so spontaneously and radically to His invitation to follow him and participate in His mission to be fishers of people.
Jesus calls us to repentance because the kingdom is close. The essence of the kingdom is that a new relationship with God is on offer. Repentance is the human disposition through which God freely draws us into this relationship with Himself. Transformation of life follows from repentance – which is our new relationship with our God.
Our faith assures us that the darkness will never entirely overpower the light of the Gospel – the light which has shone in our world of darkness when the Son of God, the true Light, pitched his tent among us. However we may rightly ask the question why has not this Light conquered the darkness? Why are so many people continuing to be blind to this Light? Maybe Paul provides us with an answer when he tells the Corinthians that the Good News cannot be preached in terms of human philosophy in which the Crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed. We may ask: ‘Has our world lost sight of the Cross? Have we, have I, lost sight of the Cross? It was through the Cross that Jesus conquered sin and spread light and joy through His Resurrection. Through His self offering on the Cross He breaks down the barriers dividing peoples and nations; and frees us from the yoke of slavery to our own passions; He heals our diseases and sicknesses and stands in our midst calling each of us by name as he called the first disciples – “Come follow me.”
Will we follow, no matter what the cost?
With the Palmist we pray:
One thing I ask of the Lord
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord
all the day of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord.