Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 22, 2017
Marveling at the fact that we are already nearing the end of January, a friend explained that each year, he experiences a real “low point” after Christmas. Who doesn’t? There is a sense of loss in leaving behind the joy of the Christmas Season. Our rooms look so bare when the tree is taken down and all of the decorations stored away. Even food becomes more routine. The feasting is over. The days might be getting longer, but we don’t seem to notice the extra light. It is “back to business.”
The same holds true with our Readings.
We begin the Liturgical year with Advent, a season of preparation. The all too short Christmas Season is a continuous celebration of God’s Eternal Word having taken flesh and come to live and work among us. And that’s what we see in these Sundays of Ordinary Time which link the Christmas Season to Lent. Jesus…God’s Eternal Word…getting down to business, the first order of business being the recruitment of helpers.(Matt. 4:12-23)
As for the work, basically, it is to continue what John the Baptist, now in prison, is no longer able to do…call people to REPENT!
For many, that’s not a welcome message. It implies we have done something wrong. From the time of the first parents, human nature has shown a strong resistance to admitting guilt. But, denial is nothing more than a kind of darkness that leaves the offender blind to reality, while just about everyone else can see things for what they are.
REPENTANCE might be a little easier to embrace if we allow ourselves to look past the discomfort, shame, and even embarrassment of acknowledging our shortcomings. When we focus on what comes after REPENTANCE, we see that it’s entirely possible to recover something that we thought was lost. REPENTANCE brings with it the ability to rise above the “low points” of life and resume the celebration. When we do some much needed spiritual house cleaning, we are better able to see and appreciate how full our lives have been all along. Once the clutter is removed…we can enjoy how God’s love fills our lives with beautiful things, things that were never lost, only hidden from our view. REPENTANCE is like taking off dark glasses, opening us to the warmth and healing rays of the Light of Christ, a Light that never grows dim. REPENTANCE enables us to worthily approach the Eucharist…a spiritual banquet that never becomes routine.
Jesus recruited Peter, James, and John to help with “the work.” I suspect that they left more than their boats and fishing nets behind as they set out on the great adventure of following The Lord! I suspect that they left behind all of those things that made them less than God created them to be. If we make every effort to do that…leave behind those things that prevent us from being all God created us to be…then we can make Ordinary Time as joy-filled as Christmas. And, by our example, we can show others how to walk in The Light. Let’s get busy!