Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 22, 2023

Sister Margaret Meaney, OSB shares a reflection on the scripture readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23

I unknowingly embarked on the first step of my conversion when I made an elemental decision. With the decision everything in my vicinity became lighter, brighter, new. The surfaces of glass, metal and marble sparkled. A physical weight lifted. I felt indescribable peace. I became physically lighter with the movement of mystery into my shadowland.

Is there anything darker and more shadowy to the spirit than self-deception? Is there anything more refreshing than the light of humility that helps us be in right relationship with God?

Shakespeare described the shadowland well: “In this thing of darkness there is nothing more confining than the prison we don’t know we are in.”

Looking back, it feels as though God moved me to the elemental decision.

When reading today’s gospel, I wondered why Jesus chose Capernaum. In practical terms, it was where he would collect apostles. It was on a trade route; word would spread more readily.

There was also another reason. The word Capernaum means “village of consolation” and is related to the words Kapar, which means “atonement” and Koper, which means “the price of ransom which keeps a group out of slavery.”

 “In a land overshadowed by death a light has arisen.” Jesus revealed himself in his words of revelation and hope; in the healing of the paralytic, in the forgiveness of sins and the ransom he would pay. Obviously, Jesus is the light that arose and is still arising for many who are emerging from their shadowlands.

Plato said, “Light is the shadow of God…We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark…The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.