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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 22.01.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 22.01.2023

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ISAIAH 9: 1 – 4

In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORAL PSALM
Psalm 27: 1, 4, 13 – 14 (R.) 1a

R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
whom should I dread? R/.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
only this do I seek:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord,
to inquire at his temple. R/.

I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong;
be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord! R/.

SECOND READING
“I appeal to you, brethren, that there be no dissensions among you.”
1ST CORINTHIANS 1: 10 – 13, 17

I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarrelling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptise but to preach the Gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

The Word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA
Matthew 4: 23.

Alleluia.
Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every infirmity among the people.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“He went to Capernaum, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled.”
MATTHEW 4: 12 – 23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capemaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, towards the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every dis- ease and every infirmity among the people.

The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: A New Era of Hope
January 22, 2023

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

In Matthew’s Gospel, from which we read today, we hear the first words spoken by our Lord as He begins His public ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Up until this point, Matthew’s Gospel presented us with Jesus’ genealogy, His birth, the story of the Magi, the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, Jesus’ baptism, the preaching of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus’ forty days in the desert. Now, after these introductory stories to Jesus’ life, we enter into His public ministry.

Recall that John had just been imprisoned, thus concluding his public ministry. Therefore, the time for the preaching and ministry of the Son of God had arrived. And though Jesus continues the theme of repentance started by John, Jesus takes John’s words further. Jesus adds something that John could not: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Since we are still at the beginning of the season of Ordinary Time, it’s important to understand this transition from the Old Testament prophets, of which John was the last, to the New Testament preaching of our Lord. The difference is that all that had been prophesied and pointed to in the Old Testament had now arrived. Saint Jerome, in commenting upon this passage, says that as the Old Testament Law ceased, the Gospel commenced. And, of course, the fulfillment of this new era of the Gospel was only a few short years away when our Lord would offer up His life for the salvation of many.

As Jesus begins His preaching, His words are challenging but also very hopeful. By saying that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Jesus stirs interest and holy curiosity among His first listeners. His call to repentance was softened by His new proclamation about the Kingdom.

One helpful insight we can take from these first words of Jesus’ public ministry is that this is the best way to share the Gospel with those who do not yet follow Christ. Oftentimes, when we see someone living in serious sin, we want to judge and condemn. But usually what they need the most is hope—hope that there is something much greater that comes from repentance. Certainly we need to speak against sin. But one of the most effective ways to do so is by initially offering the listener hope of something much better than the sin with which they struggle—specifically, the hope of the Kingdom of God.

Reflect, today, upon the newness of the ministry of Jesus, the newness of the first proclamation of the Gospel. As you do, try to imagine the holy curiosity that many would have had as they first listened to Jesus preach. Soon He would follow up His preaching with many signs and wonders that would confirm His message. But at first, Jesus simply instilled a hope in His hearers. As you ponder this, think about those in your life who also need this initial sense of hope and holy curiosity about the Gospel and pray that God will inspire you and use you to be an instrument of this merciful message.

PRAYER:
Lord, as You began Your public ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, You instilled hope and a holy curiosity in the minds and hearts of Your first hearers. Please continue this good work and use me as You will to be an instrument of this hope in those I encounter every day. Jesus, I trust in You.

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