3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3
1Corinthians 1:10-13,17
Matthew 4:12-23


As we settle into Ordinary time in our Church year and, for many of us, a return to work in a new year, the readings today are particularly appropriate. They signal a sense of hope, of light and mission.  The people of Isaiah’s time were oppressed by foreign powers and finally begin to see signs of hope, a ‘light in the darkness’ that will bring them peace, justice, and righteousness. A time when the yoke of military rule will give way to a restoration of Davidic rule. One cannot but reflect on current world crises where the people of the Ukraine, Iran, and Afghanistan, among others, live in a place of great darkness.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians picks up the elements of division from the first reading but also the commitment to the mission of the Gospel. Matthew uses the Isaiah reference to mark the beginning of the public mission of Jesus. There is an energy and excitement as Jesus calls his closest followers to commit to the same mission – to leave all, to share the Good News, and to bring healing and light to those living in darkness.

Most of us are not called to do great things, but each of us is called to live in the light, to share the Good News through our kindness, joy, and care of others. Every day provides the opportunity to lift the yoke that oppresses someone else. It may be through a prayer, a smile, or a kind word. When my light joins your light, we can be a powerful source of light for others.

Margaret Bentley is a Salesian Sister and is currently the Academic Manager at the English Language Studies for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) begun by the Passionists in 2014 to enable their students to learn English before continuing to the Novitiate or theological studies.