Date: Sunday January 28, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3 Psalm 27: 1.4.13-14
1Corinthians 1:10-13,17 Matthew 4: 12- 23
Naphtali and Zebulun were the northernmost tribes of Jacob's sons. They were the first to fall to the Assyrian armies and to be subjected to the tributes imposed by the Kings of Assyria. King Ahaz, the ruler of Israel at the time Isaiah talked of a Virgin being with child, still didn't get the message. Had he become subject to the conditions of his tenure, no doubt the Assyrian conquest would never have taken place. Here, in this part of Isaiah, Isaiah is heralding the reign of Hezzikiah, the ruler who would displace Ahaz when he dies. He will lead the people with equity and bring peace to the kingdom of Israel.
The psalmist foretells of the Glory of the Lord. Discounting every other cause, he tells of the light and salvation of the Lord. Now' they'll have no one to fear! With the Lord at the helm there will be only victories and no defeats. Hezzikiah is one of the few Kings of Israel who did as the Lord expected. He was rewarded with peace and victories of those who breached the peace against the land of the Lord.
The theme of the readings is unity. Christ is One! The Gospel is One! The faith is One! The Baptism is One! Seeking other sources or the interpretation of the Gospels from other sources is folly! Paul doesn't seek to downgrade the other Apostles but to bring to the Corinthians attention there is only One gospel; the one given him by Christ, Himself. We, as imitators of Paul and Christ, need not allude to any other way but the Gospel of Christ. If we adopt the Gospel as our own and reveal it to others in the way we were presented it by our Church and the way we live, no one can deny the authenticity of the Message!
Jesus saw the signs of the oppressive Herod, he would also not like Jesus and He would be subject to Herod's jurisdiction. So, He decided to get out of the realm of Herod and into the land of His upbringing. He was pretty well able to preach at will in Capernum and Galilee. Most of the populace were pagan and paid little or no attention to itinerant preachers. However, they had to admit the signs Jesus performed weren't your every day tricks but truly amazing, inexplicable events So, He went about preaching the reign of God was at hand. Here in Galilee, He gathered His little band of followers. First, Peter and Andrew followed by John and James, Zebedee's sons. His simple call, "Follow me!" is much like His call to us to be His disciples. How easy would be the life of a Christian, if we all lived like Him and by the evidence seen by our constituents, more people would be won to the side of Christ! Let us prepare ourselves so when people accuse us of being Christian, we will be found guilty!