Sunday, January 27, 2008

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today is the second Sunday in Ordinary time. It is a gray, dreary day with a break in the rain. Very ordinary for this time of year.

The first reading is from Is 8:23-9:3 and contains the texts, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light," and "You have brought them abundant joy." I love the concept of abundant joy. Not just joy, not just a smidgen or modicum of joy, but abundant joy. It has a wildness to it, an overflowing quality to it. Moments of joy are rare in most lives, but here we have plenty of joy, joy everlasting. Can we stand it? Once we have known it can we go on without it?

The responsorial psalm is Ps 27:1-4, 13-14 and contains the texts, "The Lord is my light and my salvation", and "One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life". The first text about light and salvation amplifies the line from Isaiah. Dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives is our joy; this we seek. To make our hearts ready and to make them a dwelling place for God all our lives. To make our homes places of peace, kindness and security that all who enter may experience the light of Lord, the blessing of faith, a taste of abundant joy, which is salvation. Harmony and kindness need to enter into our daily lives that the Lord may dwell in us and with us and through us. There can never be too much kindness, too much courtesy and they are like abundant joy, overflowing in our lives Kindness and courtesy are catalysts too so that the light which is in us never goes out and the Lord may reach out through us to others who need to be brought into the light of salvation.

The second reading is from 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 and contains the texts, "that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose". This unity is necessary perhaps if the light is to continue to shine and joy be maintained but is it a practical possibility when no two minds are alike? We are not being asked to give up our minds, but to bend our wills--kindness and courtesy again will help to keep divisions from growing. When I first read these words this morning I could not help but think of the growing fracas in our political parties which we call the electoral process! (But that would be a different post.)

Finally the Gospel is from Mt 4:12-23 and tells the story of the calling of Peter and Andrew, James and John to be disciples. Jesus says, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." He then begins his public ministry teaching, preaching and curing those who are sick or maimed. Teaching and preaching we still recognize in our ministries, but it is harder to find healing, although the charism of healing still exists.

So it is an ordinary Sunday with some extraordinary ideas. WE are called to be the people of light, to follow the Lord in that light in ordinary as well as extraordinary ways and one of those ways includes the power to heal--to cure illness and to heal divisions. Words for our time as we ponder a Presidential race that will open health care to all or continue to keep some people out; that will continue to base our economic life on the principle of scarcity or that could become a light in the darkness finding a new foundation in abundance for all.

I truly believe that we need to think deeply about some of these things; to see that our religious and spiritual lives are not divided from our economic activities or our
political choices. Ethics, morals and faith must inform our choices and we need to have a national debate not about whether this candidate can beat that candidate in the primary, but what it means and what we want it to mean. We are called to be the people of light in all areas of our lives. Can we shine light on the darkness of our economic uncertainty and our political future? Let us try.

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