THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.
Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by 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 proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
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 fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
We read in 1 Corinthians how the people in the early church were divided and argued amongst themselves about their affiliations. Some who were taught by Paul were clinging to Paul and others to Cephas or Apollos. Perhaps they were baptized by them. But baptism does not reflect on the person doing the baptizing. John the Baptist said that he should be baptized by Jesus and not the other way around. But Jesus suffered him to do it, showing us that baptism itself is sacred because of what we receive through faith. We are baptized into the death of Jesus and it has nothing to do with the one performing the rite.
Baptism has always meant that new life has begun and a light has dawned. It is marked by repentance and the hope of a new life in the Kingdom of God. We all follow Jesus and share the good news of salvation by everything we do and how we present ourselves to others. Of all people, we are the ones who reflect joy and peace, hope and confidence in our future. We live in another world and all the burdens of this life, the sickness and pains, frustrations and disappointments, cannot dim the beauty of our beatific vision.
Today, we ask the Lord to forgive us for allowing the weight of the world and its distractions to darken our vision and to renew us in the joy of our baptism in which we are freed from the burden of sin and death.