It has already been about a month since we celebrated Christmas. Probably in our own lives there’s a contrast between the story we celebrated with Christmas gifts, carols, lights, and decorations, and the reality of daily living.
Although this year the weather has been milder, winter still seems to drag on for me. Often there are long gloomy periods of rain and gray skies, and it leaves me feeling rather blah. I don’t get outside as much, and don’t see many friends and neighbors until the spring-time.
Our world is often a dark place, where there are too few songs, and too many tragic acts of violence among people, rather than the giving of gifts. Today’s Gospel from Matthew depicts that reality, and yet, it offers hope. We hear of the arrest of John the Baptist. That’s an ominous foreshadowing of what will happen to Jesus later in the Gospel.
Jesus leaves Nazareth to set up his headquarters in Capernaum, and there he creates a kind of mobile ministry. He invites two families of fishermen to provide him with the means to reach a wide territory around the Sea of Galilee. Matthew knows the reality of the world. He quotes Isaiah’s description of “a people who live in darkness, in a land overshadowed by death.”
So, in the midst of this darkness, there is the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus doesn’t try to conquer the darkness alone. Instead he calls others to help him. We hear the call of the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, and James and John. Their response was immediate: “At once they left their nets and followed him (Jesus).” There were no debates, no discussions, and no long considerations. The disciples are a great example to us. Do we hesitate; do we wait to become a disciple of the Lord? If we accept him as our Savior and as the leader of our Church, our response, too, should be immediate.
Good stewards of Jesus’ teachings understand we are on a spiritual journey, and must learn from our experiences by being open to the Gospel. We realize the need to be freed from the things that keep us from having a closer friendship with Jesus. What is it in our lives that we need to reform? What keeps us from revealing God’s glory to others? Answering those questions could be the best thing we do in 2020.
Tony Cooper-Stewardship and Development