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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday After Epiphany
1st Reading (1Jn 3:22—4:6): We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist who, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.

You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
Responsorial Psalm: 2
R/. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The Lord said to me, you are my Son; this day I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.

And now, o kings, give heed; take warning, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before him; with trembling rejoice.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 4:23): Alleluia. Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 4:12-17, 23-25): When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

“The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Fr. Jordi CASTELLET i Sala (Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we begin again, so to speak. “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” (Mt 4:16), Isaiah, quoted in the gospel —which takes us back to Christmas, tells us. We start again, we get another opportunity. Our time is new, the occasion asks for it, let's humbly let the Father work in our lives.

Today we start the time that God has given us yet again, for us to sanctify, so that we can get close to Him, so that we can turn our lives into service to others. Christmas is coming to an end next Sunday with the Baptism of the Lord, and a new year starts with the ordinary time —as we say in Christian liturgy— to live “in extenso” the mystery of Christmas. The Incarnation of the Word has visited us in these days and has sown his Grace in our hearts in an infallible way, a grace which takes us back to the Kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of God that Christ has come to open up to us with His deeds and commitment from the Heart of our humanity.

Because of that, Saint Leo the Great said that “the providence and the mercy of God, who had already thought of helping a world which was collapsing at the time, determined the salvation of all peoples through Christ.”

This is the right time. We cannot think that God worked more in the past than now, that it was easier to believe in Jesus —physically, I mean— than now that we do not see Him. The sacraments of the Church and the prayer of the community grant us pardon and peace and an opportunity to participate, once again, in the works of God in the world, through our work, study, friends, family, entertainment or the daily life with our brothers. May the Lord, source of every gift and every good, make it possible for us!

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “At Christmas we saw a weak baby, giving proof of our weakness.” (Saint Proclus of Constantinople)

  • “To walk in darkness means to be satisfied with oneself. To be convinced that ones does not need salvation. This is darkness!.” (Francis)

  • “The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world (…). Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 407)