Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

Pope Francis has asked the entire world to celebrate the power of God’s Word on this Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. The old prophesy ended with the death of John the Baptist. Jesus brought a new reality to the world. He brought us from darkness into light, and called us to listen and follow according to God’s Holy Word.

  • To the point: John’s ministry is finished; with his arrest, the tradition of Old Testament prophets dies. Enter Jesus, inaugurating a new reality. Jesus calls Peter and Andrew, James and John to leave their life as they knew it and become disciples who now proclaim the “gospel of the kingdom.” Humanity moves now from darkness into “a great light.” New teaching happens now. New healing comes now. New Life is given now. Now, a new presence.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Matt 4:12-23) to the first reading: The darkness to which Isaiah refers is a political reality of oppression and subjugation. The “great light” symbolizes Israel’s deliverance and freedom. Matthew situates Jesus in the same land of darkness, asserting that the great light shining in the darkness is Jesus.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: We easily identify figures of immense personal presence — Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. — who changed the course of human history. Jesus’ personal Presence is so utterly immense; He even more dramatically changed the course of human history.


Today’s first reading echoes the Christmas Eve proclamation of the birth of Christ as a light dawning in the darkness.

Today, these same words refer to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. His nativity and ministry are aspects of a single event: the coming of light into the darkness of our world. Jesus’ light is more like a gentle candle in a window on a dark night than a powerful fluorescent that penetrating every nook and cranny.

Jesus is not the powerful searchlight from which no flawed thing can escape. He came as a simple person, a forgiver of souls, a quiet observer of human faces. We watch him walk along the seashore talking with fisherman, and gently inviting them and us to follow him into a new way of living.

In our deepest selves, if we can enter there,
we may discover a peace and a goodness,
a forgiveness, a gentleness, and a hope.

This is the light of Christ.

In our deepest selves,
we may discover an inner desire
that what we want is to do God’s will.
This desire is all we can really know
or be sure of about ourselves. It is enough.

This is grace.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew 4: 12-23)

“He called them, and immediately they left their boat
and their father and followed him.”

“Come after me,” he said.
They dropped their nets and followed
the deep desires of their hearts.
They learned to heal. To love.
Lord, thank you for calling us too.
For accepting the beauty,
the blindness of us, the warmth,
the cold of us.
Teach us to leave our nets and our works
to come and follow you in love,
to seek out your people.

The First Reading

(Isaiah 8: 23-9:3)

“Anguish has taken wing; dispelled is darkness.”

From a murky corner west of the Jordan
there shone a small light. It showed
though all the world’s darkness and distress,
and lifted weights from shoulders, and smashed
yokes and taskmasters’ rods.
Christ, help us. Let us glimpse your light.
Fill us with angst at the poverty in our midst.
Let us serve all who ever suffer.
Let us be your light for others

The Second Reading

(1 Corinthians 1: 10-13, 17)

It has been reported that there are rivalries among you.

Jesus, when we are divided,
gather us together into one soul — Yours.
And if we should put on strife,
then, give us your heart.

Copyright, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection