Tourists were visiting the famous Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. While they were below ground in the giant cave, the lights went out. Among those trapped in the darkness were two children: an eight-year-old boy and five-year-old sister.
The situation was scary, especially for children. Suddenly the little girl began to cry. The eight-year-old brother was heard to say, “don’t worry, Amy. There is a man up there who knows how to turn the lights on again.”
The story is a beautiful illustration of the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading. It is the same prophesy Matthew applies to the coming of Jesus in today’s gospel: ‘the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.’
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah promised a great light for the people of Israel, especially to the people of Zebulun and Naphtali. During the time of Isaiah, Israel was divided into two parts: the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel. The Assyrians came into northern Israel and scattered them and some of them were forced to intermarry. The descendants of these intermarriages were called Samaritans.
In Jesus’ time whenever the Jews had to go to the south to north or vice versa, they didn’t go through the Samaria or intermingled with them. We see Jesus later going through the Samaria, talking to the people and as a Jew facing the resistance.
Zebulun and Naphtali were also affected by the Assyrian exile and this weekend readings, the promise of the prophet Isaiah a great light for the people of Zebulun and Naphtali, and in the Gospel Jesus fulfills the promise. Jesus began to preach and invited the people to repent. Jesus said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." An invitation to embrace the light: Christ the Light.
In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus invites four of the Apostles and told them they have a great mission to bring the Good News to ends of the earth. Jesus commissioned them to be fishers of men.
Pope Francis invites us to celebrate the third Sunday of ordinary time to celebrate as The Sunday of The Word of God. In his Apostolic letter “Aperuit Illis,” Pope writes, “Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world.”
At the end of every Mass, we are commissioned and send out to share the Good News. This year, let us give emphasis to learn the scripture, so we will have a deep understanding and ability to share with others.